A bond so strong they’ll trust their life to it

Staff Sgt. Tyler Hodge, 820th Combat Operations Squadron data systems technician, rappels during pre-deployment training, Sept. 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Each Airmen had to properly tie their own rope harness before conducting several rappels. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Callaghan)

Staff Sgt. Tyler Hodge, 820th Combat Operations Squadron data systems technician, rappels during pre-deployment training, Sept. 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Each Airmen had to properly tie their own rope harness before conducting several rappels. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Callaghan)

Airman 1st Class Vinson Smith, 105th Base Defense Squadron fireteam member, tightens a rope harness around his legs and waist during rappel training, Sept. 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. During their rappels, the Airmen had to simulate a cut rappel line and a freefall, and demonstrated how they would mitigate the problem. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Callaghan)

Airman 1st Class Vinson Smith, 105th Base Defense Squadron fireteam member, tightens a rope harness around his legs and waist during rappel training, Sept. 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. During their rappels, the Airmen had to simulate a cut rappel line and a freefall, and demonstrated how they would mitigate the problem. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Callaghan)

Airman 1st Class Devon Sherman, 105th Base Defense Squadron fireteam member, kneels on a trail while participating in improvised explosive device detection training, Sept. 27, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. During the training, the Airmen teamed with trainers from the 820th Base Defense Group to learn the common indicators of a hidden IED. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Callaghan)

Airman 1st Class Devon Sherman, 105th Base Defense Squadron fireteam member, kneels on a trail while participating in improvised explosive device detection training, Sept. 27, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. During the training, the Airmen teamed with trainers from the 820th Base Defense Group to learn the common indicators of a hidden IED. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Callaghan)

Senior Airman Jermain Mitchell, 105th Base Defense Squadron fireteam member, prepares for mounted patrol training, Sept. 27, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. In addition to mounted and unmounted patrols, they also conducted heavy vehicle rollover training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Callaghan)

Senior Airman Jermain Mitchell, 105th Base Defense Squadron fireteam member, prepares for mounted patrol training, Sept. 27, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. In addition to mounted and unmounted patrols, they also conducted heavy vehicle rollover training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Callaghan)

Airman 1st Class Gerardo Balsa, 105th Base Defense Squadron security forces member, demonstrates how to perform a needle decompression on the chest during tactical combat casualty care training, Sept. 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Tactical combat casualty care tests and reinforces participants’ lifesaving medical skills while they are in high-stress, combat scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)

Airman 1st Class Gerardo Balsa, 105th Base Defense Squadron security forces member, demonstrates how to perform a needle decompression on the chest during tactical combat casualty care training, Sept. 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Tactical combat casualty care tests and reinforces participants’ lifesaving medical skills while they are in high-stress, combat scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)

Airman 1st Class Nicholas O'Brien, 105th Base Defense Squadron security forces member, strikes a bag during baton training, Sept. 28, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The 820th Base Defense Group trained with the 105th BDS for more than a month before leaving for their deployments to Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)

Airman 1st Class Nicholas O'Brien, 105th Base Defense Squadron security forces member, strikes a bag during baton training, Sept. 28, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The 820th Base Defense Group trained with the 105th BDS for more than a month before leaving for their deployments to Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)

Staff Sgt. Tyler Hodge, 820th Combat Operations Squadron data systems technician, releases the rope and falls to show members of the 105th Base Defense Squadron that the person below him is responsible for his safety as he rappels, Sept. 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The New York Air National Guardsmen received rappel training as part of preparation to their deployment to Southwest Asia with members of the 820th Base Defense Group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)

Staff Sgt. Tyler Hodge, 820th Combat Operations Squadron data systems technician, releases the rope and falls to show members of the 105th Base Defense Squadron that the person below him is responsible for his safety as he rappels, Sept. 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The New York Air National Guardsmen received rappel training as part of preparation to their deployment to Southwest Asia with members of the 820th Base Defense Group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)

Tech. Sgt. Jose DeLeon, 820th Combat Operations Squadron NCO in charge of deployed radio frequency systems, checks a 105th Base Defense Squadron member’s harness during rappel training, Sept. 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The 820th Base Defense Group was able to use its post-deployment experience and training resources to help train the Air National Guardsmen of the 105th BDS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)

Tech. Sgt. Jose DeLeon, 820th Combat Operations Squadron NCO in charge of deployed radio frequency systems, checks a 105th Base Defense Squadron member’s harness during rappel training, Sept. 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The 820th Base Defense Group was able to use its post-deployment experience and training resources to help train the Air National Guardsmen of the 105th BDS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Meade, 820th Combat Operations Squadron NCO in charge future operations, watches as Tech. Sgt. Brandon Arroyo, 105th Base Defense Squadron squad leader, rappels during training, Sept. 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The 820th Base Defense Group was able to use its post-deployment experience and training resources to help train the Air National Guardsmen of the 105th BDS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Meade, 820th Combat Operations Squadron NCO in charge future operations, watches as Tech. Sgt. Brandon Arroyo, 105th Base Defense Squadron squad leader, rappels during training, Sept. 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The 820th Base Defense Group was able to use its post-deployment experience and training resources to help train the Air National Guardsmen of the 105th BDS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)

Staff Sgt. Tyler Hodge, 820th Combat Operations Squadron data systems technician, demonstrates how to properly rappel during training, Sept. 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. This is the tenth time members of the 820th Base Defense Group and the 105th BDS have deployed together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)
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Staff Sgt. Tyler Hodge, 820th Combat Operations Squadron data systems technician, demonstrates how to properly rappel during training, Sept. 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. This is the tenth time members of the 820th Base Defense Group and the 105th BDS have deployed together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)

Airman 1st Class Vinson Smith, 105th Base Defense Squadron security forces member, smiles as he prepares for rollover training, Sept. 30, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. While at Moody, members of the 105th BDS were able to train on an array of weapon systems as well as earn their license to drive mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, also known as MRAPs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)
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Airman 1st Class Vinson Smith, 105th Base Defense Squadron security forces member, smiles as he prepares for rollover training, Sept. 30, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. While at Moody, members of the 105th BDS were able to train on an array of weapon systems as well as earn their license to drive mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, also known as MRAPs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

Airmen from separate Air Force components took time to train and foster relationships that could potentially mean the difference between life and death during their upcoming deployment.

For longer than a month, the 820th Base Defense Group and New York Air National Guard’s 105th Base Defense Squadron, based out of Steward Air National Guard Base, New York, have trained hand-in-hand in preparation for their departure this week for partner deployments to Southwest Asia.

“If [I’ve established] a comfort zone with someone, I’m going to trust them more in a high-stress zone when people are shooting at us,” said Senior Airman Daniel Abbatiello, 105th BDS security forces journeyman. “Once that foundation is built and we’ve seen each other train and know each other’s reactions, it makes everything a whole lot better.”

The units need to build trust because they team up regularly to provide high-risk protection and base defense for the expeditionary Air Force.

While at Moody, the partnered units were able to train on an array of weapons systems along with rappelling, vehicle roll over training and also earned their driver’s licenses for mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, commonly known as MRAPs.

“Doing this training has really allowed us to get everybody on the same page and make sure we’re all squared away for the deployments,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Geovanii Pacheco, 820th Combat Operations Squadron tactical training NCO. “It allows for better continuity because we’re getting people who are doing this every day and then we’re also getting people from the 105th who periodically come in for training.”

This is the tenth time the units have deployed together. This training has helped strengthen the bonds created between Airmen who are attending their first partnered deployment and Airmen who have multiple deployments under their belt.

“We have people who treat these deployments as reunions because they’ve gone outside the wire together and they’ve been in combat situations,” said Pacheco. “I think this specific relationship is an example for other units to follow if they want to increase the working relationship with the National Guard downrange.”

Pacheco stressed the importance and benefit to already knowing who works well with who and what role each Airman will fill upon deployment. Pre-deployment training helps work out the kinks before going downrange.

The 105th BDS’ full-time Moody liaison said it was a ‘no-brainer’ to conduct mandatory and additional training with the 820th BDG.

“For the Security Forces career field, essentially everyone in the Air Force goes to the regional training center at Fort Bliss, Texas,” said Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Knowlton, 105th BDS liaison stationed at Moody Air Force Base. “We are exempt because we come here for that training.

“To me, [the 820th] is the leading agency for base defense groups in  the Air Force,” Knowlton added. “So who better to learn what we need to know as a [base defense squadron]. There’s no better place to go to truly know what the expectations are from the troops we’re supplying. We’re getting trained to their level, while also building connections.”

Not only does the training bring assurance to Airmen from the 105th BDS, but Airmen from the 820th agreed that training together in preparation for a deployment builds confidence all around.

“I’m absolutely confident in these Airmen,” said Pacheco. “We’ve been able to tailor the training exactly to what they’ll be doing, so it’s definitely left me with a more comfortable feeling. They’re a lot more confident now that they know what to look forward to.”

Pacheco explained that he had performed the same mission in the same environment roughly a year ago, allowing him to set Airmen up for success by organizing training to match the duties they’ll perform.

“That’s an advantage of getting somebody who has just completed the same deployment to train-up [the next] unit,” said Pacheco. “Someone who just had that experience in the past year, they know the current tactics, procedures and standards. It’s like training your replacement.”

The post deployment expertise, accompanied by the training resources the 820th BDG has at its disposal, brought proficiencies to National Guardsmen as well.

“Some of the more experienced guys know what training to [focus on],” said Abbatiello. “It’s really beneficial for us. So when we go out, we’re actually confident in what we’re doing. We don’t have those opportunities at our base because we don’t have the equipment, so we have fun coming down here.”

Likewise, representatives of the 820th BDG said they enjoy and recognize the added benefits accompanied with the experience.

“Overall it was great interacting with our National Guard sister unit to complete the mission and I’m really looking forward to hearing their [stories] when those guys come back,” said Pacheco. “Seeing if the training I gave them still applies to certain situations and if there were differences, that will help them and myself prepare the next iteration that’s going out after them.”