EMMETT, Idaho – The 124th Air Support Operations Squadron organized a resiliency day competition for members of the 124th Fighter Wing and other local organizations.
The July 31 event including shooting, followed by a four-person, 12-mile relay that began with a strenuous ruck up a mountain. While the competition progressed, Airmen received resiliency instruction in the non-traditional setting from the wing's sexual assault response coordinator, sexual assault prevention and response team, and chaplain corps.
"Today's event was about resiliency on and off the battlefield," said Brig. Gen. Tim Donnellan, assistant adjutant general-Air, Idaho Air National Guard. "Taking the skill sets developed in training to achieve victory in combat can also be used to achieve victory in life. 'Shoot, move, and communicate' are combat basics that directly relate to life in general – Shoot (focus on what you're currently doing and do it well, whether it's family, relationships, or work), move (transition smoothly between job, home, faith, values), and communicate (talk to each other at all times, good and bad)."
The event planning initially only included the 124th ASOS, 124th Security Forces Squadron, and the Gem County Sheriff's Department, due to all the units' similar tactical nature. However, organizers realized the event could also be a valuable tool for other agencies and units in the wing to come together, showcase their skills and learn about resiliency in a friendly competition.
Participants included teams from the Gem County Sheriff's Department, which hosted the event, Bureau of Reclamation, Idaho National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, IDNG Air Force and Army Chaplain Corps, 266th Range Squadron, 124th FW staff, 124th Operations Group, 124th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 124th SFS and 124th ASOS.
The event began with a shooting competition. Participants were timed taking shots with the M-9 and M-4 in different positions. Most wore their normal tactical gear.
"We do these types of drills so they can learn about the discrepancies in their kit," said Maj. Johnny Reyes, air liaison officer for the 124th ASOS and the event organizer. "They wore their normal duty wear and duty style weapon so they could use it the way they normally would. That way, they could know what's blocking their rifle, where their magazines should be placed, where it's most comfortable for their pistol to transfer to the rifle and vice versa."
The run portion of the event consisted of four 3.2-mile segments, starting with a hike that began along a steep ridgeline. Before participants made the trek with a 50-pound pack in the 90-degree heat, they received instruction from the chaplain corps on topics such as suicide and preventing sexual assault.
"We partnered up to make it a strong bonds event by providing a meal and doing what we call hip-pocket training, which is another way of saying group training you can do in the field," said Maj. Ian Howarth, chaplain with the 124th FW. "I think it's a great out-of-the-box way to provide relevant training, especially if these topics are as important as we say they are. I think that putting them in a venue and in a platform that's relevant to people, where they actually pay attention and get something from it, is probably the single best result."
After the ruck, other team members ran the next three segments along the Black Canyon Canal, which was lined with signs with messages about resiliency to promote self-reflection and learning. Chaplains provided a well-earned meal and snow cones at the finish line.
"We've got to be good wingmen and be there for each other," said Reyes. "If you see something, say something. Back each other up. We're all family, you know, and that's what this is all about."