Team Seymour completes Total Force training

  • Published
  • By Maj. Abby Dolak and Staff Sgt. Mary McKnight
  • 916th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Civil Engineering members from the 916th Air Refueling Wing and the 4th Fighter Wing completed live-fire training, embedded with emergency response drills, here on April 8.

The total force training meets yearly training requirements for each unit that are essential to their career fields, per the Air Force standards set forth for firefighters.

“Every January, we reach out to the fourth civil engineering flight division to schedule live-fire training for April,” said Tech. Sgt. Jason R. Watkins, 916 CEF assistant chief of training. “We provide them a schedule of tasks we need to achieve as a unit. With 100 man-hours dedicated between the two units for this training alone, we would not have met this requirement without the fourth and their accommodations.”

The training incorporated total participation from both flights, something Watkins said is crucial to the program’s success because it provides seamless integration between active duty and reserve troops.

“To remain efficient and effective, we expect the entire unit to participate, regardless of rank,” said Watkins.

“Live fire training provides a controlled environment for personnel to help hone their skills in preparation for real-world events,” said Robert Klinger, 4 CEF assistant chief of operations. “It is as close as we can get in training to real-world fighting.

“It also serves to condition firefighters to look past the brightly colored flames of the fire and see the bigger picture of the incident,” he added.
“This training was certainly a learning experience,” said Airman 1st Class Devin Hudson, 4 FW firefighter and driver operator. “I’ve never deployed before or been in a situation like what we did in training; it gave me more insight on what’s possibly to come.”

The day of training allowed reservists to integrate with their active-duty counterparts in a total force effort, seamlessly training like one.

“Active duty provided proficient and professional training,” said Airman 1st Class Ryan Hayes, a reserve firefighter with the 916 CEF. “I was fortunate to do my upgrade training with the fourth. Because of their capabilities and willingness to train, I feel confident in the tasks I have been certified to do.”

The 916 CEF has a strong and supportive relationship with the 4 CEF. As a tenant unit at Seymour Johnson AFB, the training offers a vital resource that allows both organizations to train with a mission first, ready always mindset.

“We continually rely on active duty’s resources to help us achieve our training,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kyle M. Vega, 916 CEF fire chief.

“Through our seasoning program, they train our new Airmen on skills that cannot be achieved on a traditional reservist’s schedule,” he said. “On the other side, we help them by backfilling positions when they have shortfalls, which helps them meet the requirements to service the base.

By capitalizing on training opportunities like these, 916 CEF and 4 CEF embody total force integration and demonstrate the need to integrate with our active-duty counterparts.

“As reservists, we are intended to augment and deploy with active forces,” said Lt. Col. Alejandro Holguin, 916 CEF commander. “For that reason, it is crucial to train as we deploy, ensuring seamless and effective integration. Training along with our active-duty counterparts improves our readiness and training requirements.

He added, “The idea behind the total force concept is for our forces to mesh into one military entity capable of meeting the nation’s call quickly and efficiently.”