Edwards Airmen develop combat skills for deployments Published April 6, 2007 By Airman 1st Class Julius Delos Reyes 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- In the summer, an Air Force Flight Test Center information technology Airman is scheduled to deploy to Southwest Asia for four months. To prepare for the deployment, Staff Sgt. Shannon Fisk, together with about 90 Edwards Airmen, underwent combat skills training at Camp Corum here March 28 through 30. Combat Skills Training, taught by the 95th Security Forces Squadron, is an Air Force program that provides combat training to Airmen who may not be involved in a combat role in their day-to-day jobs. "The training gives Airmen an advantage when they deploy downrange, where they start to face combat roles no matter what their actual career field may be," said Tech. Sgt. Robert Johnson III, noncommissioned officer in charge of the 95th Security Forces Squadron training program. "The combat skills training was very eye-opening," Sergeant Fisk said. "The first day was familiarizing us with convoys." The need for the training arose because Airmen are now performing more expeditionary duties in deployed locations. In some cases, Airmen may need to go on convoys to other bases. "These skills are giving Airmen an advantage on how to protect themselves, become a productive member of a convoy and protect the base or the squad," Sergeant Johnson said. The monthly training consists of use-of-force procedures, rules of engagement, rifle techniques, M-16 familiarization, combat tactics as well as convoy training. With rifle-fighting techniques, Airmen learn how to protect themselves if they are in a situation where they have to face insurgents and have to use a less than deadly force, Sergeant Johnson said. Through M-16 familiarization, Edwards Airmen learn how to break apart their weapons, identify the parts and reassemble the weapon. Combat tactics enables Airmen to react on scenarios such as ambush and patrols, as well as learn proper hand signals. Convoy training teaches Airmen how to react if the convoy gets attacked by insurgents. During the convoy training, Airmen learn the basic gear to wear when tasked to perform convoy operations, what the Airmen need for convoys as well as troop leading procedures, said Tech. Sgt. Edwards Eichinger, 95th SFS training assistant noncommissioned officer in charge. "It gives these Airmen an idea how a convoy operates," Sergeant Eichinger said. In addition, the training also teaches Airmen about specific duties of each convoy member, basic combat convoy courses, walking drills and rock drills, he said. Security forces began teaching the combat skills course after the Air Force took over light-medium missions from the Army, Sergeant Eichinger said. These missions include transportation of water, fuel and food. "I know Airmen from other career fields also go on convoys," Sergeant Johnson said. "They need to understand the fact that even though they are not in a combat role, they may be thrown into convoy operations." Security forces are leading the instruction of combat skills operations because it is part of their more than 1,300 hours of annual training. "We just teach the stuff we would think Airmen would face in a deployed environment," Sergeant Johnson said. "I took a compilation of what I was instructed to do and what was being taught." Sergeant Fisk said she understood the point of the training was to give her a basic knowledge of how things work and the extent of training that goes along with it. "The combat skills training helped me understand that there is logic to all of the madness," she said. "It is very real, and I have to keep my eyes and ears open. It could be my life or someone else's life."