Fort Carlson, Colorado –
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Over the past two weeks, members of the 140th Security Forces Squadron and the 140th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight camped out at the 140th Wing's Airburst Range, Fort Carson, Colo. to conduct joint training.
In order to accomplish annual requirements, members trained on combat tactics, including troop movements, door breaching, vehicle convoy procedures and clearing buildings, as well as completing annual shooting qualifications.
"We practice everything from low crawling to reacting to sniper fire," said Master Sgt. Jason Garrett, operations NCO, 140 SFS, who is also a patrolman for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. Garrett helped plan and execute the security forces training and exercise scenarios for the simulated deployed environment.
As a final challenge after several phases of training, the Airmen participated in a culminating exercise where they were evaluated by the Inspector General Team on their effectiveness in a challenging, yet realistic mission scenario.
"The point was not to trick them into screwing up, but rather to evaluate and identify where we're deficient and can improve," Garrett explained.
A few of the EOD operators were also evaluated as part of the SF combat team, integrating with the SF team, reacting to potential explosive threats along the course of the mission and even breaching a door using explosives.
The members of the EOD flight who were not participating in the exercise helped orchestrate the scenario by acting as enemy forces, setting off a simulated IED, and throwing smoke bombs.
"EOD makes the experience more realistic and dynamic for our folks," Garrett said, mentioning the diesel explosion intended to startle the SF team. "It gives us a chance to evaluate how folks deal with high stress."
Not just during the big exercise, but throughout the week, the security forces members and EOD operators trained side-by-side. While their missions are very different, EOD operators frequently accompany SF teams in combat in case they come across a potential IED or other explosive hazard.
"It was a good experience to be able to work with security forces and see how we integrate with each other," said Senior Airman Adam Harkness, EOD operator, 140th EOD Flight. "Both teams had something to contribute to the training and in the end, I think we all came out more prepared for a combat mission."
Airman First Class Dalton Detwiler, patrolman, 140 SFS, agreed. "It's been fun working with EOD and incorporating their tactics with ours," he said.
Detwiler chose to join security forces two years ago and this was his first experience training at Airburst Range. "It's a blast!" he said. "As long as you have the right attitude and take the training seriously, it's a really amazing experience."
While there were times on the range when temperatures hit the triple digits and the conditions were not easy, the magnitude of the training and lessons learned from the week are hard to undermine. Garrett summed it up, "it's truly invaluable training that they're getting this week."