Readiness course prepares Team Vance for deployments

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mary Davis
  • Public Affairs
Twenty Team Vance warriors received critical warfighting training while attending the Combat Readiness Course June 12 to 16.
The weeklong training, conducted by the 71st Logistics Readiness Squadron's Civil Engineer Readiness Flight, provided combat realism to ensure members could survive and operate in austere locations, while honing battle capabilities.
"Participants were tasked with establishing and defending a base camp using vital force protection, self-aid and buddy care, and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear high-yield explosives training," said Senior Airman Rebecca Wardell, readiness plans and operations manager. "The team worked under physical and psychological stress from operating in defensive fighting positions for 24 hours a day, for a couple of days at Kegelman Auxiliary Airfield. The training gave them the opportunity to experience what it means to become a combat-ready Airman in today's Air Force."
During the training, realism was achieved by using blank ammunition, ground-burst simulators, smoke grenades, combat-simulated laser training and role-playing opposing forces, or OPFOR team, who used exercise scenarios to provide the best training possible, said Airman Wardell, who is from Apache Junction, Ariz.
"The OPFOR team covered a wide spectrum of training situations that combat-ready Airmen may encounter during a deployment," she said.
Tech. Sgt. Naomi Martin, NCO in charge of the wing command post, received the training to prepare for her upcoming deployment to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, in September.
"The training was more realistic than the typical readiness training we receive annually," said the technical sergeant from Farmington, Minn. "During many of the scenarios, we put much of our ancillary training to use."
Sergeant Martin and the other participants treated simulated wounded in the field, protected their camp and used tactical maneuvers to outsmart their enemy.
"Two of our people found the enemy camp and removed the batteries from their radios," Sergeant Martin said. "This lessened the enemy's communication abilities."
Although the training was tough, it was useful, said Sergeant Martin, who deployed to Moron AB, Spain, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
"The training provided good bare-base training," she said. "This is definitely great preparation for those going out to the field."
Airman 1st Class Brett Polzin, an airfield systems maintainer with the 71st Communications Squadron, didn't have deployment experience to fall back on during the course and found the information enlightening.
"CRC was very helpful," said the Airman from Marinette, Wis. "I went through similar training during warrior week at basic military training, but this was more intense."
Participants averaged about three hours of sleep per day in the field because of simulated enemy attacks, Airman Polzin said.
They also endured blistering heat, no running water and ate Meals Ready to Eat at every meal. All that combined with the lack of sleep made it difficult to stay alert for simulated enemy attacks, he said.
"The hardest part was staying vigilant in the defensive fighting positions and on patrol," he said. "The security forces were great. They would simulate an attack, and then afterward tell us what we did wrong and give us pointers on how to do things better."
The course was interesting to the very end, Airman Polzin said.
"The best part was at the end of the course, when the students split into two different teams and fought against each other," he said. "Our goal was to obtain an object from the other team. We had a lot of fun."
Airman Wardell was grateful to the instructors, who included members of the readiness flight, 71st Medical Group and 71st Security Forces Squadron. She was also grateful to the squadron commanders, "who allowed the cadre and OPFOR members to prepare for the course and spend time with the students in the field to give them the necessary job training."