News>91st MSFS Airmen tone skills in night-ops training
MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D -- Airmen from the 91st Missile Security Forces Squadron had the opportunity to learn how to use and move about with night vision goggles during a recent training exercise. (US. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittany Y. Auld)
by Senior Airman Brittany Y. Auld
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs
8/30/2012 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Approximately 80 members from the 91st Missile Security Forces Squadron, including Airmen from the 219th Air National Guard, participated in tactical night operations training here Aug. 15.
The training focused on four distinct elements: Familiarization on how to use and move about with night vision goggles and laser aiming devices, mounted vehicle operations, dismounted operations and launch facility assaults.
"This training is crucial to not only me, but to our unit as a whole because it helps us to fine tune the use of our equipment, personnel and tactics," said Staff Sgt. Gabriel Rosario, 91st Missile Security Forces Squadron missile field flight security controller. "It gives us all practice on how to adapt to different situations and overcome to win the fight."
He added the training teaches leaders how to make smart decisions and issue commands with confidence, as well as help Airmen understand how to execute commands effectively.
The flights were split up into four groups and they rotated throughout four training stations until all were completed by each group.
Station one consisted of mounted combat patrol exercises. Here they were evaluated on their response to vehicle roll-overs, enemy contact drills, downed driver drills, and driving without the use of conventional light.
"We practiced getting out of an inoperable vehicle while receiving fire," said Airman 1st Class Gabriela Castillo, 91st Missile Security Forces Squadron missile field response force leader. "We learned how to set up our weapons and personnel to produce the best offense against the enemy. Also how to react in situations where our driver is down and we need to provide immediate care for them while still pressing on with the mission."
At the second station, Airmen were faced with the mission of locating individuals in hiding while utilizing night vision goggles and laser aiming devices. They were sent through a densely wooded area to find enemy targets.
"In groups of four, we were tasked with finding and challenging any personnel hiding within the thick vegetation," said Castillo.
The third station consisted of a launch facility assault scenario using Night Vision Goggles and infrared lights. An assault like this would take place should a launch facility be occupied by hostile forces.
Castillo explained some of what they learned included properly setting up secure landing zones for helicopters, deploying effectively to a LF in complete darkness, and searching for unauthorized personnel/items while recovering and recapturing a LF.
Last but not least, the fourth scenario involved dismounted combat patrol exercises where Airmen learned how to tactically operate, silently move, and react to enemy contact as a squad in a night time setting while on foot. They would use this in a scenario when stealth is paramount and it is required of them to advance toward an objective on-foot.
"We learned that each formation is designed for certain scenarios to produce the maximum results," said Castillo. "Also, we went over how to cross an unknown trail where there might be possible incoming adversaries. Finally, we learned how to smoothly retrograde from a situation. Meaning, if we are outnumbered or out-powered by the enemy and there is nothing we can do to counteract the enemies' attacks, we must effectively retrograde away from the danger."
Members of the 91st MSFS train constantly and repeatedly to improve their skills, establishing the strongest defense force possible.
"This training will better our defenders' ability to operate in an environment where visibility is reduced and when other factors come into play that are not seen during the day," said Senior Airman Devin Gorsage, 91st Missile Security Forces Squadron assistant readiness non-commissioned officer in charge. "I believe it gave the airmen a new insight to the challenges, and limiting factors of operating in darkness. It gave them a chance to use other senses not normally utilized in a combat environment."