MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
Capt. Jesse Ruter, 391st Fighter Squadron, seeks shelter behind a row of oil drums as the opposition forces storm the ground before him, demanding he come out with his hands up, yet he does not yield. He quickly jumps from his position using cover fire to aid in his evasion of the enemy.
With a racing heart and adrenaline filled veins, he runs to a safer position.
Kicking dirt in the air with every lunge, he slides to duck behind another stack of oil drums, takes aim, and fires at his adversaries as the sound of munitions striking steel echoes across the desert.
Ruter and many others participated in Shoot-Move-Communicate, a unique training exercise organized by the 366th Security Forces Squadron Sept. 25, 2018.
Staff Sgt. Alexis Dinger, 366th SFS SMC course instructor, explained that while SMC training is common in the Air Force, however this training was unique because it’s specifically designed for aircrew flying in contested airspace.
Dinger and her team of instructors conduct SMC training for security forces and explained the difference in this training.
“The training is just a little bit different for our cops [because] we teach them to bound forward, take cover and bound back,” she said. “For the pilots, we are only having them bound backwards, so they start at the end of the course and they bound away.”
Dinger said the training is important for aircrew in the event they need to eject from their aircraft in a hostile environment. In that instance, they would face additional challenges because they would be strapped to their seat and may need to immediately defend themselves from enemy fire.
The training for aircrew members included a scenario brief and a practice run to become familiar with the course, proper movements and commands. They then geared up for the scenario simulation where each pilot had to quickly travel from cover to cover in order to evade the opposition forces, otherwise referred to as OPFOR, and make it to the end of the course.
The training also included “simmunition,” a non-lethal wax ammunition used for adding an additional level of realism to the training.
Col. Joe Kunkel, 366th Fighter Wing commander, participated in the SMC training and explained the importance of the realism that the SMC course demonstrated.
“Ultimately this is about warfighting and taking the fight to the enemy in any domain,” Kunkel said. “For the first time ever, we’re arming our aircrew with a submachine gun when they fly, and in the unlikely event our aircrew find themselves on the ground in enemy territory, we’re training them to use it. Our aircrew are deadly on the ground and in the air. They are lethally equipped to successfully take on the full spectrum of challenges they may face in combat.”