Suited and Booted

  • Published
  • By SrA Gage Daniel
  • 94th Airlift Wing

Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. 

Airmen from the 94th Security Forces Squadron at Dobbins Air Reserve Base grew familiar with those words reverberating through the outdoor loudspeakers during a base-wide exercise last week.

“When I hear those three words, the first thing that comes to my mind is a big ‘what if,’” said Staff Sgt. Timothy Wright, 94th SFS, security forces Airman. “It makes you wonder how much they’re going to try to stress you. Sometimes things start at a zero and work up to a 100, or they start at 100 and you have to de-escalate things to a zero yourself or as a team.”

As a part of an exercise this week to evaluate the 94th Airlift Wing’s capability to deploy, the 94th SFS and Airmen from other squadrons participated in a week-long exercise containing four phases at Dobbins ARB, Ga., from Sept. 19-24, 2022.

The four phases of this exercise were: generation, which is setting up, deployment, which is moving to a location other than home-station, and that’s usually oversees, sustainment, which would be sustaining operations in the deployed environment, and redeployment, and that’s deploying back home, said TSgt. Brandon Duke, 94th Airlift Wing, Wing Inspection Team program manager.

A successful exercise requires all squadrons to operate cohesively and move in unison to keep the whole wing running efficiently. A particular area of importance to the overall health and wellbeing of any military installation is security. One way SFS was able to repeatedly train on readiness capabilities was with the use of “injects,” which were random events that related to obstacles one may face in the real-world.

“The injects are a good thing to have,” said Tech. Sgt. Doug Crisp, 94th SFS, security forces Airman. “They provide an element of surprise and having the ability to react spontaneously is important. It’s like working out, as you perform more reps over and over, your mind-to-muscle connection grows, your muscle memory expands, and down the line it’s those who have performed more reps that perform the best.”

The Inspector General office oversaw the exercise and provided SFS with real-world scenarios so in the event of a deployment, members would be prepared to keep their facilities secure.

“The conditions were quite similar,” Crisp said. “We’re checking ID’s overseas, locals come up to the gate looking for help there too, and the possibility of gunfights and having to put on MOPP, Mission Oriented Protective Posture, gear is very real in some locations. We trained on all of that and more during this exercise. With it being an exercise, the events were as realistic as possible, and that’s good. There’s a new generation coming up behind me and we need to know where they’re at, prepare them accordingly, and ensure they’re ready to come in, take over, and propel the Air Force further.”

With tens of thousands of Airmen enlisting in the U.S. Air Force every year, it’s vital that there’s a constant focus on training and preparation for the upcoming generation of Security Forces Airmen to succeed.

“There are new Airmen to train, so I didn’t want to get complacent out here as a new Staff Sergeant,” said Wright. “We need to make sure they’re trained up and caught up. Fortunately, out here we are allowed to make mistakes. The Wing Inspection Team gives us an after action report and tells us what went well and what went wrong, and depending on our proficiency in the scenarios, we would repeat them. That gave us the opportunity to respond quicker and more appropriately.”

The opportunity for Security Forces Airmen to handle high-stress scenarios gave them the ability to teach and learn from one another’s past experiences and the current ones at hand.

“If you’re inspection ready, you’re mission ready,” Duke said.