916 Defenders Expeditionary Escape

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Shannon Mann
  • 916th Air Refueling Wing

916th Air Refueling Wing Security Forces Squadron reservists polished up their field training while getting dirty at the US Army’s, Home of the Airborne, Ft. Bragg.


For a few years members of the squadron fired at the Fort Bragg ranges, but completed all other annual training requirements at home station on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.


Squadron Senior Master Sgt. Brian Nash, non-commissioned officer in-charge of the 916th Security Forces, explained that classroom training lacked elements of real-world experience. He said his Airmen could get all their computer taskers completed and do a few lessons outside their squadron building, but the training that keeps deployment skills sharp was lacking.


In April three members of the squadron found a way to fix the problem. Master Sgts. Justin Benz and James Frans, along with Tech. Sgt. Victor Joseph, teamed up to develop a scenario and training plan that would make any schoolhouse proud.


With a mission to “train, mentor and develop Airmen” the three set out to develop a training scenario that combined classroom theories with real-world application.


Security Forces is a unique career field that requires constant hands-on training for perishable skills,” Fulton said. “Ft. Bragg has thousands of acres for training purposes and it exposes our Security Forces members to a Total Force Effort.”


The Army liaisons at Ft. Bragg were more than happy to provide the 916th members with a mock training village complete with vehicles and equipment that would help make the scenario more realistic.


Frans, Benz and Joseph learned how to operate all of the equipment that Ft. Bragg offered including simulators to provide a realistic experience to roadside bombs, and simulated munitions which trained forces on the experience.


Fly-aways used to allow Security Forces the opportunity to conduct training on things such as fighting positions and patrols, while working with cutting edge technology. Finding time to create a mock battle field at home station while juggling appointments, events and necessary upgrade, computer-based training was a stretch.


“This training at Ft. Bragg gives us time to get caught up on what we don’t get to do during a unit training assembly,” said Nash. “Our commander wanted to get the squadron combat ready and prep us for our pre-deployment training next year.” Nash said it also served as a good morale builder.


“The Airmen loved it,” Benz said. “There were numerous comments about how great it was to get in the field and do the hands-on portion of our career field. This type of training keeps us honed in on our combat skills and core tasks, builds comraderie and teamwork, and prepares Defenders to deploy anywhere in the world and be effective at what we do.” Security Forces Commander Major Stephan Kellar echoed his NCOs sentiments adding that his unit has a large number of first-term Airmen without prior training. Emphasizing that the training provided them with invaluable resource to help prepare them to fully support the next mission.


“I couldn’t be more proud of what MSgt. Benz and his team of planners and trainers accomplished,” said Kellar.  “The partnership they forged at Fort Bragg will pay off for the entire wing and the training we provided our Airmen will greatly benefit our future mission readiness.”