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New York Airmen Train with Army Guard Special Forces

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Patrick Espeut,
  • 105th Airlift Wing

WARREN GROVE RANGE, N.J. - The New York Air National Guard’s 105th Airlift Wing Base Defense Squadron teamed with the 106th Rescue Wing and an Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) from the Army National Guard’s 20th Special Forces Group to hone their expeditionary skills in an exercise in New Jersey May 5-7.

Over three days, Airmen and Soldiers were thrust into scenarios they might face in a hostile deployed environment. 

The training exercise included everything from conducting ground assaults on a forward operating base to repelling an enemy force from defensive fighting positions. 

BDS members also worked alongside joint terminal attack controllers and requested close-air support from HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters flown by the 106th RQW.

Debriefs were held between base defenders and the special warfare operators to highlight tactics that were well executed and identify areas for improvement.

“We are trying to train in a slowed-down tempo of deployments so we can work on certain skills rather than having to pick them back up when we are tasked to go out the door,” said Tech. Sgt. Nicholas O’Brien, a BDS member and adviser to the acting troop commander for the exercise.

“I am ensuring that adequate notes are taken for the appropriate after-action report, so we can bring the notes back to the squadron and identify certain deficiencies within the teams,” O’Brien said. “Our team performed very well, but there is always room for improvement.”

In addition to the 28 BDS members, six support members from intel, vehicle maintenance and supply participated in the exercise. In a real-world deployment, Airmen from these career fields would be embedded with the base defense force to provide intelligence reports and repair vehicles.

The exercise was the 105th’s second joint training with U.S. Army Green Berets from the 20th SFG. The partnership was made possible by 1st Lt. Al Romano, a 105th Defender who works at the New York Police Department’s Emergency Services Unit with one of the Green Berets.

“The Air Force is looking for innovative ways to breed multi-capable Airmen. What better unit to look to than a battle-tested ODA whom we can learn so much from,” said Romano. “These Special Forces units can greatly enhance our warfighting and ground base defense capabilities so that we are able to better prepare for near-peer adversaries.”

The partnership helps both groups become more lethal fighters by learning from each other’s techniques and experiences.

“I hope we continue this relationship with the 20th and the 106th Rescue Wing,” said Master Sgt. Aljamien Gamble, the acting troop commander who coordinated the exercise with other BDS members.

“This training is beneficial to facilitate the wing’s vision, which is ‘Always Ready.’” said Gamble. “That means working in an austere environment, alone and unafraid, and getting ourselves ready for anything that comes up in the future.”