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Contingency skills course brings expeditionary basics to Airmen

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
  • Air Mobility Warfare Center Public Affairs

With Airmen doing more on the frontlines of the war on terrorism, the need exists for Air Force specialties across the board to receive training in a variety of expeditionary combat skills.

In the Air Mobility Warfare Center’s 421st Combat Training Squadron here, they built an answer to that need -- the Air Force Integrated Contingency Skills Training Course.

The course has been a staple of the training regimen of the 421st CTS in the past. Similar contingency skills training courses have been conducted, but were split between Air Force security forces and other support career fields such as contracting, legal and finance.

“The idea for this course was due to the need for a multitude of Air Force specialties to receive tactical, integrated training in a setting that could prepare them for deployments,” said Tech. Sgt. Lawrence Durrell Jr., assistant noncommissioned officer in charge for the course. “This was not a new idea. Phoenix Readiness, a course here at the Air Mobility Warfare Center until 2003, was the model for the CST course that exists today.”

Sergeant Durrell said there are a number of Air Force specialties that are involved in tactical operations throughout many of the deployed areas now and all require a certain level of training to operate and survive in a tactical environment. Besides security forces, a few other career fields trained in the new CST course include combat camera, finance, legal, chaplain, contracting and public affairs.

“All of the Air Force specialties that participate in the course will participate in training that is generally specific to security forces,” Sergeant Durrell said. “In this course, non-security forces career fields get exposure to training they’re not used to receiving.”

Some of the specific training includes combat first aid, convoy operations, combat patrolling and tactics, military operations in urban terrain, land navigation, defensive operations, and even combat media training. That training, according to Sergeant Durrell, can test the will of some of the students.

“It is quite demanding on those who are not accustomed to this type of physical field training,” Sergeant Durrell said. “Security forces students who are in the course are generally prepared for the type of training, but that is what they’re used to doing. For others, the challenge will add to their experience with the training.”

Airmen participating in the integrated CST also get the basics on becoming more familiar with their assigned weapon.

“This may include weapons handling and muzzle awareness as well as simple weapons clearing and cleaning procedures,” Sergeant Durrell said. “In addition to becoming more familiar with their weapon, Airmen also obtain skills that will assist them to survive in a tactical environment such as through convoy, patrolling and tactics procedure training.”

The 421st CTS conducted its first version of the new integrated course Jan. 10 to 22 where more than 100 Airmen were training for upcoming deployment cycles. Master Sgt. John McNamara, 421st CTS security forces operations planner, said the course went well with the all the career fields working together on the training.

“Eventually, I hope this course will develop and evolve into a basic contingency or tactical skills course for all career fields,” Sergeant McNamara said. “This will ensure our (Airmen) have the ability to operate, accomplish the mission, and survive in the various environments we are deploying them to.”

“In today’s threat environment, there are very few career fields that are exempt from tactical operations on the ground,” Sergeant McNamara said. Due to this, all the personnel involved in these areas need to have a certain level of training to operate in the tactical environment and that’s where this integrated CST fills a vital training need.”

For the rest of fiscal 2006, there are five more integrated CST courses planned with the next course beginning Feb. 14.