HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
“Prior preparation prevents poor performance.” said James Baker, Former White House chief of staff.
The 49th Civil Engineer Squadron ensures maximum preparation with situational training to maintain operational readiness.
During their 2019 Field Training Exercise, the 49th CES built shelter systems and spent the night on a training site on base, practicing integrated defense, defensive fighting positions and individual movement techniques during the day.
“What we're doing is focusing on readiness,” said Master Sgt. Philip Acord, 49th CES Electrical Power Productions section chief. “Nowadays with new emerging threats, we need to test ourselves to see if we can come out here, stay the night and engage in certain contingency training skills—working on what we would need to establish on a base and keep it secure in a deployed environment.”
Building this skill-set is very critical to the unit maintaining operational readiness, and it was a real learning experience for the Airmen involved.
“It’s a great time to get back down to the roots of being in the military,” said Senior Airman Robert Lipford, 49th CES heating, ventilation and air conditioning journeyman. “You're not always going to deploy to a location where you have those nice built up shelters already, there could be different living conditions in different locations, and you have to fight through it.”
While this training helped sharpen the skills of many Airmen, the 49th CES is looking to make improvements to ensure readiness.
“We're still in the crawl stage,” said Acord. “We're able to take what we learned from this first exercise, and use that for future planning. For example, ‘How long did the training take?’, and ‘What are the types of conditions we have out here during this part of the year?’ There are all kinds of different questions that we will ask. One of our priorities after this is to sit down and talk to make sure we don't miss anything to give our readiness section continuity to work with.”
Acord mentioned that it has been approximately seven years since they have done training like this, and the facilities were not in the best condition now. His goal is to revamp the training site, and even get more units to participate in the training.
“In the future, we would like to expand where anybody can come out here,” said Acord. “We could have a more realistic scenario in which the force support squadron comes out, maybe they install one of their kitchens and knock out some of their contingency specific trainings. We could also have security forces participate, and work on the base security aspect. There are all kinds of different avenues we could go depending on the scope of the training we want.”