MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
The Air Force’s pivot to the Agile Combat Employment concept across the force and Lead Wing designation for the 366th Fighter Wing spurred many units into adjusting training to meet the newest challenge.
The 366th Security Forces Squadron continues to meet this requirement by executing a readiness exercise in an austere environment involving close-quarter combat tactics, small unmanned aerial system recovery and a key leader engagement March 17, 2023.
“We are shifting the mindset of Defenders here,” said Master Sgt. Walter Stiles, 366th SFS chief of weapons, tactics, standards and evaluation. “We have a lot of young Airmen and NCOs who have never deployed so we are building their toolbox to make them more lethal.”
Stiles said Security Forces Airmen are being taught law enforcement and security skills at technical training, but exercises designed at MHAFB build the air base ground defense skillset and prepare Airmen to operate in an austere, contested environment.
The air base ground defense mission may require Defenders to leave built-up deployed locations and push out much further into contested territory, than during the past 20 years of deployed operations. Leaving the life support system of the air base and successfully employing weapons and communication equipment over an extended period tests Airmen at every level in the squad.
“The Gunslingers hold field exercises so we can continue to hone skills that we do not use in our day-to-day role as installation security and perimeter defense,” said Lt. Col. Devon Bledsoe, 366th SFS commander. “We might have a Senior Airman as the highest-ranking Defender on site at a contingency location, so they need to be well versed in team tactics and mutual support to make sure the team gets home safe.”
Gunfighters across the 366th FW are working to ensure that when the time comes for deployed operations, they will be ready to execute their mission at the highest level.