SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
Approximately 18 Airmen stand in formation outside of the 4th Security Forces Squadron awaiting their final Airman Leadership School requirement. A 4.25-mile ruck march and an afternoon of combat training stands between the non-commissioned officers and their new responsibilities as supervisors and leaders in their respective duty sections.
By adding CST to ALS, frontline leaders and non-commissioned officers culminate the 6-week course with a combat ready mindset. The new training schedule allows Airmen to complete their mission requirement within the DOD’s COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“In an effort to meet the base commander’s intent of combat Airmen first, specialists second, we have initiated a combat skills training course for our ALS graduates,” said MSgt Darius McKoy, 4th Security Forces Squadron training section chief. “The course will help develop a combat mindset ready to adapt and overcome challenges in a future fight where they will be operating in a contested environment and sanctuaries won’t exist.”
McKoy added, we thought about how we could touch the masses and decided the easiest way is to attach CST to ALS. This allows Air Force Specialty Codes from around the wing to be reached. It also helps them to become frontline leaders and hopefully they can take a little bit back to their units.
The training began with a 4.25 ruck march that integrated danger crossing combat skills.
“A danger crossing is conducted anytime you are on an outside of the wire patrol or when you come up to an intersection and there is a good possibility that people with hostile intent are able to make contact with you,” said Staff Sgt Dean Anderson, 4th SFS trainer and recent ALS graduate.
Following the ruck march, the graduates practiced tactical movements such as a low crawl, high crawl and a rush and roll.
Finally, the day concluded with shoot, move and communicate training. Graduates using modified M-16 rifles and simulation rounds take cover, shoot and communicate with one another in order to navigate through smoke canisters, ground burst simulators and the sounds of a combat zone pulsing through loudspeakers, creating a combat-like atmosphere.
The biggest take away from the training was the final part of the shoot-move and communicate portion, because we gave them time to crawl, walk and then run, said Anderson. The crawling and walking portion were moderately easy, but once they got into a situation where there were explosions going off and they could hear gun fights in the background, they were able to experience how hectic a combat situation can be.”
While the combat skills training was focused on instilling and enhancing a combat mindset, it also gave the new graduates an experience of responding in stressful situations.
“During stressful situations, we need to be calm, cool and collected,” said Staff Sgt James Stevick, 4th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief and ALS graduate. “Going forward, even if it is not in the situation where we are in body armor and carrying rifles, under stress I will be able to better gather myself and make sure my team is taken care of.”