MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Traditionally, the 219th SFS would conduct all its training in one location, such as the Camp Grafton Training Center (CGTC), near Devils Lake, N.D. However, this year, supplemental training was held at Minot AFB, N.D., and Camp Ripley, near Little Falls, Minn., which collectively facilitated the accomplishment of specific training requirements unique to the mission of nuclear missile field security.
The split-location training afforded Airmen the opportunity to fire the M2 .50 caliber machine gun, the M249 light machine gun, the M240 machine gun and the Mk 19 grenade launcher at Camp Ripley, and the M4 rifle and M9 pistol at the CGTC. It also enabled Airmen and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) to further their leadership development by providing more opportunities to lead across multiple locations.
“One of our big pushes is non-commissioned officer development,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jamie Frankl, of the 219th Security Forces Squadron. “This type of training provides our new Airmen and NCOs the opportunity to implement leadership skills and develop them a little more by separating them.”
Defenders from the 219th also participated in force-on-force training at Minot AFB, incorporating UH-1N Huey helicopters and BearCat armored personnel vehicles.
“We integrated with BearCats, the 54th Helicopter Squadron and Humvees, which made this our biggest force-on-force annual training we’ve had to date,” said Frankl. “The integration with the helicopter allows us to learn their language and communicate with them a little better. It gave us the chance to properly set up a landing zone, properly call in what we need for weapons fire, and really hone in on the communication skills.”
Furthermore, the 219th SFS commander’s support staff built a structured training plan for the upper-level NCOs to accomplish force development. The plans aided the NCOs with the day-to-day tasks of helping new Airmen, such as putting them on orders, ensuring appropriate temporary duty travel status and providing better operational familiarity to make their job easier.
“I think it was a huge success,” said Frankl. “From a training aspect, this is one of the top years, if not the top.”
“There were a lot of moving parts, and it came together pretty seamlessly,” said Frankl. “During force-on-force, the team got to do things they’d never done before. It’s not about the ‘I’, it’s about the team.”