LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen from the 19th Civil Engineer Squadron and defenders from the 19th Security Forces Squadron participated in a Joint training exercise with pilots from the Arkansas Army National Guard, Oct. 22, 2019, to accurately simulate what could be seen in a contingency environment.
The exercise created an atmosphere for EOD and Security Forces to work together in order to locate, diffuse, and render safe a simulated improvised explosive device cache site.
“This training exercise gives us the opportunity to train with Security Forces and the Army to learn how to incorporate each other’s tactics, techniques, and procedures to build one organized unit that could complete the mission together,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Colton Lien, 19th CES EOD team lead.
In addition to promoting interoperability with our sister service, this exercise focused on the ability to operate cohesively in an austere environment, and strengthen one another’s trust.
“Sometimes it is hard for units to integrate others into their formations,” Lien said. “This exercise is great for building camaraderie between the units and acts as an opportunity for Airmen to network among their peers while providing a glimpse into operating in a Joint environment.”
Training for every scenario is essential to allowing the Airmen to have the upper hand on the enemy anywhere and at any time. It also allows for training to accurately mirror the complex situations these agencies might come across in a deployed environment.
“We kind of have to think like the enemy during these exercises,” said Tech. Sgt. Caleb McDaniel, 19th SFS Kennel Master. “For training of this magnitude, we want it to be as close to the real thing as possible.”
When they are called upon, it is essential that Airmen have the knowledge and skills to tackle any challenge they may face.
“There are a number of instances where they can call us and we have to be ready,” McDaniel said. “What you see one week may be different from what you see the next. You always have to be on your toes and be prepared for all the possibilities.”
The ability to rapidly assemble forces and maneuver as one unit when responding to crises improves combat effectiveness and promotes readiness.
“Joint interoperability with Security Forces and the Army National Guard was essential to completing the mission,” Lien said. “Without them it would not have been possible to mimic what a deployed situation would look like. It really helped bring some reality to the exercise.”