144th Fighter Wing Airmen train for contested environments

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Christian Jadot
  • 144th Fighter Wing

When it comes to protecting U.S. Air Force's military assets, the responsibility falls on the Security Forces Defenders. To ensure they are prepared for the task at hand, the 144th Fighter Wing, Security Forces Squadron, trains for Agile Combat Employment at Camp Roberts, California,  Feb. 2, 2023.

During the scenarios taking place, Security Forces members travelled to a simulated contested area of operations, then were assigned with assuming control over and securing an airbase.

“We are securing a mock field, operating site, providing security, relieving partnering, security forces, then holding security until we’re relieved,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Thomas Lee, 144th Security Forces Squadron. “So my job specifically is tower overwatch, our primary duty here is to scan our area, make sure and report any movement from outside the base.”

To make the exercise run as realistically as possible, the Army National Guard 1106th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group was recruited to role play as an opposing force during scenarios being run.

“Our job, is to make it difficult for them, ” said U.S. Army Sgt. Isaiah Lorenzo,  1106th TASMG. “We are here to play the enemy to get them ready for wherever they are going, or whatever they are doing.”

Security Forces is typically employed in a law enforcement and security capacity at their home station.

“This is an opportunity for them to get away from what we see at a normal built-up base environment,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jimmy Schiotis, 144th Security Forces Squadron. “This is what we would do if we were actually in an ACE type scenario; defending a patch of ground that may not have what we are accustomed to back at home.”

Being away from an established military compound allowed Security Forces to train outside of their normal parameters.

“It’s pretty tough when we’re in a confined or in a built-up area to practice our combat skills,” said Schiotis. “This gives us an opportunity to put all the skills that we have learned, together, in an environment where they can actually maneuver.”

The Airmen were appraised in various operations from security to defending a compound under a chemical or biological attack.

“The whole point of this field training exercise is to meet our mission essential tasks,” said Lee. “To make sure we are proficient at conducting our duties in a combat scenario.”

The exercise was held in the field in realistic weather conditions and simulated logistical issues.

“Our guys came out here with a great attitude, they knew they were coming to the suck and coming to deal with it,” said Schiotis. “They have been pushing through and getting some!”