KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea —
8th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal team led an integrated night operation training with members of the 8th Operations Support Squadron survival, evasion, resistance and escape team alongside the 8th Security Forces Squadron personnel, Nov. 8.
The training consisted of two major scenarios that integrated the teams for high-intensity night operations, equipping Airmen with the various skillsets needed to execute close-quarter combat operations while providing junior enlisted Airmen unique opportunities to hone their leadership skills.
“Our role during this training was to equip the team with tactical knowledge during mission planning based on the intel provided,” said Tech. Sgt. Corray Valentine, 8th OSS SERE section chief. “Through proper planning, we help facilitate interoperability to ensure teams were executing as realistic and efficiently as possible.”
The operation not only focused on testing service members’ agility and rapid employment within their respective specialties, but also enhanced familiarization of each other’s tactics and procedures for better-equipped personnel during a future fight.
“As a security forces member, we’re trained to rush in and complete the mission as fast as possible,” said Senior Airman Adriana Mendez, 8th SFS military working dog handler. “However, during this operation, a big takeaway was understanding the importance of slowing down and becoming a bit more meticulous during sweeps for the possibility of hidden explosives.”
In between scenarios, participants debriefed and discussed areas of concern that could be improved for the following scenario based on their area of expertise.
“I gained a greater insight of the overall mission in observing EOD defuse explosives and got to share some SF knowledge to refine some of their practices; it was a learning experience for everyone involved,” said Mendez.
Guidance on mission planning and close-quarter combat tactics were particularly useful to newer members like Senior Airman James Devlin, 8th CES EOD journeyman, who was mission lead for one of the scenarios.
“This hands-on training was vital for my career development, because you can only learn so much from books,” said Devlin.
As a team lead, Devlin used his resources and intel to assess the situation and practice forming an operations order.
“Upon receiving a mission task, it was my responsibility to evaluate the situation, select adequate tactics for the scenario and brief my commander,” said Devlin. “It was my first time performing a lot of team-leading procedures so it was important that I effectively communicate with my team and commander to convey intent.”
Based on their rigorous training and experience, members from EOD, SERE and SF had multiple opportunities to practice critical thinking and utilize their specialized skillsets to carry out the mission.
“These integrated trainings are crucial for teaching younger Airmen on how to work together and problem solve,” said Valentine. “Most importantly, it provides them different perspectives on how other teams solve problems which ultimately makes them more capable Airmen.”