Skills for success

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Boom! The deafening sound of an improvised explosive device going off brings the convoy to a halt as insurgents open fire. The Airmen the convoy is comprised of answer the small arms fire with their own as they set up a defense for the convoy under siege.

This is a scenario Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and Sailors are faced with in deployed locations around the world, but this training exercise was done at Whiteman during air expeditionary combat skills training Aug. 10.

AECS prepares Airmen for deployments and their wartime role.

"It allows Airmen not normally exposed to combat skills the opportunity to learn how to defend themselves and Air Force assets in a deployed location if hostilities were to occur," said Tech. Sgt. Randolph Wyatt, 509th Security Forces Squadron and AESC instructor.

This three day course, offered to deploying Airmen, consists of a day-and-a-half of classroom instructions and a day-and-a-half of field training.

"The field applications are conducted in the field with as many sights and sounds as we can safely incorporate to simulate a combat environment," Sergeant Wyatt said.

Airman Story, who recently went through the AECS shared his thoughts about the simulated combat environment.

"The field training was very realistic with mock IEDs going off and Airmen playing insurgents bringing the heat with small arms fire such as M249 and M16," said Airman Trevor Story, 509th Services Squadron. "I hope it never happens, but if I find myself in a situation where the IEDs aren't fake, the bullets being fired at me aren't blanks and the insurgents aren't Airmen preparing me for battle; I will remember this training and put it to good use."

During the field training and classroom instruction Airmen add a variety of knowledge and skill to their arsenal.

AECS teaches Airmen about integrated base defense, arming and use of force, rules of engagement, law of armed conflict, combat care, weapon familiarization and maintenance, rifle fighting, convoys, and IED and unexploded ordnance familiarization and reaction, Sergeant Wyatt said.

After telling about what the class consisted of Sergeant Wyatt said, "Any added skill set to increase our Airmen's survivability is an asset to the entire United States force protection mission."