August 22nd, 2006 03:50 EST
Phoenix Warrior Prepares Security Forces by Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
FORT DIX, N.J. (AFPN) -- More than 100 security forces Airmen participated in Phoenix Warrior 06-1, a program run by the Air Mobility Warfare Center's 421st Combat Training Squadron, Aug. 5 to 17.
The 13-day predeployment course prepares security forces in areas such as weapons and live fire training, convoy operations, military operations in urban terrain, mounted and dismounted patrolling, static posts including vehicle search and entry control point operations, and involvement in the Air Force exercise Eagle Flag as part of a field training exercise.
The course gives security forces that extra edge before deploying, said Capt. Brent Gallant, 421st CTS Operations Flight commander.
"Not only does this prepare security forces and combat support personnel for deployment, it refreshes those perishable ground combat skills and builds cohesion amongst the forces," he said.
Airman 1st Class Lynsey Stangle, a security forces journeyman from the 375th Security Forces Squadron at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., said she was glad to be a part of the first course.
"It was good to get a lot of the weapons training," she said. "It's a lot more than I've had in the past. As a matter of fact, a lot of what I learned in the course I've never done before."
Airman Stangle said the training will definitely help when she leaves for her deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
"If I hadn't come here and went straight from my home base to my deployment, I think I could have been in situations where I didn't know what to do," Airman Stangle said. "From a training standpoint, it certainly increases my comfort level a bit."
Master Sgt. Jason Parker, the Phoenix Warrior program director and instructor, said the first iteration of Phoenix Warrior was a true success.
"It wasn't perfect, but went much smoother than we could have hoped for a first run," Sergeant Parker said. "Troop leading procedures, or TLPs, were stressed and applied throughout the course. We made the leaders be leaders."
As an example, Sergeant Parker said when students were given a mission via an operations order, it was the troop leader's responsibility to plan for and execute the mission in its entirety with little to no cadre involvement other than safety oversight.
"This instilled confidence not only in the leaders, but in their troops as well," Sergeant Parker said. "Additionally, we exposed the troops to using a lot of live firing within convoys, towers, transition drills and high explosive rounds from the M-203 grenade launcher. This provided the troops confidence in their weapons systems as well as honed some of their firing skills."
Staff Sgt. Brian Hunt, also a Phoenix Warrior student from the 6th SFS at MacDill AFB, Fla., said the training made him more aware of what he needs to do in a variety of situations.
"I think this has made me a well-rounded security forces Airman," Sergeant Hunt said. "We don't do this kind of work in our day-to-day duties at our home station, but when we deploy we do a lot of work like patrols and convoys that we've learned about in this course."
For Senior Airman Cameron Riley from the 43rd SFS at Pope AFB, N.C., the training was something he believes all security forces troops should receive whether they fully use it or not.
"It's better to be safe than sorry," Airman Riley said. "You have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. My past experience on deployments has shown me some of the most far-fetched things can happen so you really need to be prepared. This course really aids in that preparation."
Cadre members believe this course has already proved valuable.
"Based upon student performance, the first Phoenix Warrior was an overall success that exceeded our expectations," Captain Gallant said. "Airmen leaving here are ready to survive and operate in the expeditionary combat support environment."
The future of the course in fiscal 2007 has it coinciding with each scheduled Eagle Flag exercise. Eagle Flag tests Airmen in multiple career fields on expeditionary combat support skills. The next Phoenix Warrior class and Eagle Flag exercise is set for October.