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9th AF provides first Rear Mission Support Element training

Capt. Matthew Thomas, Air Force Joint Test Program Office lead operation research systems analyst from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., adjusts the gas mask of Master Sgt. Amanda Simonsen, 627th Civil Engineer Squadron commanders support staff section chief from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., during a chemical warfare class at Shaw AFB, S.C., Feb. 21, 2017. As part of their third week of training, the Rear Mission Support Element course students complete individual readiness tasks including chemical warfare and small arms qualification. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Diana M. Cossaboom)

Capt. Matthew Thomas, an Air Force joint test program officer lead operation research systems analyst from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., adjusts the gas mask of Master Sgt. Amanda Simonsen, the 627th Civil Engineer Squadron commander’s support staff section chief from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., during a chemical warfare class at Shaw AFB, S.C., Feb. 21, 2017. As part of their third week of training, Rear Mission Support Element course students complete individual readiness tasks including chemical warfare and small arms qualification. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Diana M. Cossaboom)

An instructor from Air University’s LeMay Center begins a lesson with Rear Mission Support Element course students at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 21, 2017. The four-week course provides two weeks of in-class instruction on military doctrine, joint operation planning, course of action development and OIR specific products. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Diana M. Cossaboom)

An instructor from Air University’s LeMay Center begins a lesson with Rear Mission Support Element course students at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 21, 2017. The four-week course provides two weeks of in-class instruction on military doctrine, joint operation planning, course-of-action development and Operation Inherent Resolve-specific products. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Diana M. Cossaboom)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. (AFNS) -- Sixty Airmen who completed the first two official Air Force Rear Mission Support Element training courses are participating in War Fighter Exercise 17-4 at Fort Hood, Texas, through April 12. The exercise is part of their deployment training to support operations at Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve headquarters.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein directed the training be accomplished by Ninth Air Force.

“The Rear Mission Support Element is an organization stood up at Shaw AFB to organize, train and equip Airmen in accordance with the chief of staff of the Air Force’s focus area No. 2, ‘Strengthening Joint Leaders and Teams,’” said Chief Master Sgt. Fred Turner, Jr., the Ninth AF RMSE superintendent.

The RMSE course strengthens the Air Force’s capabilities by providing specialized training to Airmen, giving them the skill sets needed to be part of a joint headquarters as well as making them proficient in joint planning.

“The fact that Airmen do well all the time tells us we have such a high caliber of people that if we deliberately train and educate toward that group of people, send them forward as a team, [the Air Force] may end up the headquarters of choice for certain conflicts, and that is the idea behind [the training],” said Col. Chuck Douglass, the Air University warfighter education director.

The course is scheduled to be offered about six times a year and is currently only available at Shaw AFB for Airmen assigned to the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve headquarters.

The four-week training course includes two weeks of instruction on military doctrine, joint operation planning, course of action development and OIR specific products taught by certified Air University LeMay Center instructors.

The Airmen then spend a week completing expeditionary skills training including chemical warfare and small arms qualification.

The last week, which is not concurrent with the first three weeks, consists of a major exercise where Airmen practice their skillset as a team in a model JTF to refine the processes and tasks they will need to accomplish at the CJTF-OIR headquarters level.

“As an Air Force member, we’re typically used to working within our component, but working in a joint environment, it’s crucial for us to get this type of training,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Martinez-Hernandez, a 737th Training Squadron personnelist from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

According to Turner, the curriculum takes Airmen from multiple Air Force specialty codes and puts them through training and exercises with fellow Airmen they will be deploying with, giving them an opportunity to get to know each other and form a unit prior to setting foot at the deployed location.

“After RMSE training, the next step in the development of the Air Force’s future joint warfighters is to deploy to CJTF-OIR headquarters and apply the lessons learned while gaining joint force experience,” he added.

The biggest takeaway is to understand what it means to be an Airman in a joint environment and understand where they fit in the joint force, said Douglass.

The RMSE course will continue to provide joint warfare training to strengthen Airmen by shaping their capabilities in a JTF environment, giving them the tools they need to accurately and effectively work in a joint headquarters setting.

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