CMSAF experiences "Brave Defender" training

  • Published
  • By Samuel King Jr.
  • 96th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy received a hands-on tour of Air Force Materiel Command's "Brave Defender" training area May 6 here.

Brave Defender is a three-week deployment training course for security forces Airmen. The training is hosted by the 96th Ground Combat Training Squadron, one of four GCTS in the Air Force.

As soon as the chief arrived, "action" was on set as two humvees rolled into a simulated village. Turret gunners went "weapons free" with their M-249s as the vehicles kicked up a dust and sand cloud.

The defenders exited the vehicles and entered one of the buildings under the cover of yellow smoke as the chief looked on. The fire team exited the building with its target ending the scenario and receiving applause from the CMSAF.

Next, Chief Roy viewed the latest weapons being used in combat and within the Brave Defender course. He expressed a great appreciation for firearms and quizzed the defenders on the latest attachments and specifications.

"The chief was very interested in the combination day/night sight for the M-203 grenade launcher," said Staff Sgt. Ivan Moscher, a 96th GCTS instructor. "I explained that it was a laser and infrared site with an accuracy of up to three meters."

Sergeant Moscher also briefed Chief Roy about simulated munitions or "simunitions" and their accuracy and effects. The sergeant explained that simunitions produce less recoil on the weapon, but still provide reliable accuracy.

The chief put Sergeant Moscher's statement to the test. Master Sgt. Todd Coning, 96th GCTS flight chief, had an M-9 and M-249 loaded with simunition rounds ready for target practice. The chief didn't hesitate, taking the opportunity to fire both weapons.

After emptying a few clips on target, Chief Roy got behind the wheel of a humvee to drive through the Defenders' improvised explosive device course. Most of the way through the simulated village, machine gun sounds and explosions rang out. The chief's vehicle filled with smoke and his team had to evacuate.

"We want to provide the students with an idea of what real combat is like prior to their deployment," said Staff Sgt. Eric Testerman, an IED instructor with the 96th GCTS.

Then it was on to the humvee roll-over simulator where Chief Roy, once again in the driver's seat, experienced a roll-over scenario. The simulator flipped three times before resting on its roof. The chief and his team had to climb out as quickly as possible.

After the simulation, Chief Roy thanked the defenders for a "highly interactive" tour and asked if they had questions for him.

They expressed concerns ranging from budget cuts, economy, officer opportunities and the Air Force role in Afghanistan. The chief provided his perspective before joining the defenders to salute the flag during the playing of retreat.

He left them with a few words about their families.

"We as military members sacrifice a lot as do each and every member of our families," Chief Roy said. "Make sure to tell them and, if possible, show them how much they are appreciated."