Airmen learn combat skills to fight, survive

Airmen from the 95th Security Forces Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, practice the 'high crawl,' just one of many skills they learned during Air Force-mandated Air Expeditionary Force Combat Skills training. (Air Force photo by Chad Bellay)

Airmen from the 95th Security Forces Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, practice the 'high crawl,' just one of many skills they learned during Air Force-mandated Air Expeditionary Force Combat Skills training. (Air Force photo by Chad Bellay)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFMCNS) -- "Exercise, Exercise, Exercise," took on a whole new meaning for 126 Edwards Airmen Dec. 7, when they received critical training from the 95th Security Forces Squadron during the operational readiness exercise at Camp Corum. The training, called Air Expeditionary Force Combat Skills Training, was mandated by the Air Force for all Airmen scheduled to deploy.

The 19 hours of required training is designed to teach Airmen basic skills that could save their lives, said Maj. Roy Collins, 95th Security Forces Squadron commander.

"As we go downrange, we're seeing more Airmen engaged in combat, not just the Security Forces," Major Collins said. "The goal is to train our Airmen like the Security Forces - build their basic skills - so we're sending better-prepared troops downrange."

For many of the Airmen involved, this was their initial experience with this type of training.

"This is the first time for our base," said Tech. Sgt. Carlos Pitre, 95th SFS noncommissioned officer in charge of training and resources. "It's kind of like a test run."

The skills training include many aspects of combat, from weapons familiarization to practicing maneuvers such as the low crawl.

"We're giving them the tools they need to react to fire and return fire," Sergeant Pitre said. "We're also teaching them how to challenge intruders, and to communicate using hand and arm signals, to talk without speaking aloud and giving away your position to the enemy."

The Airmen receiving the training represented many different Edwards' units, from the 95th Medical Group and the 95th Mission Support Squadron to the 412th Maintenance Group.

Staff Sgt. Elvin Colindres, an F/A-22 avionics technician with the 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and one of the trainees, said the training would be very helpful, especially to the younger Airmen for whom Edwards is a first assignment.

"It's good training, and it seems like fun," Sergeant Colindres. "Plus, you never know when you'll need this stuff."