News: 944th Airmen develop combat skills
Story by Staff Sgt. LAUSANNE KINDER
LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. - Three Airmen from the 944th Force Support Squadron recently "deployed" to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, in support of Patriot Warrior 2014.
Patriot Warrior is an exercise comprised of more than 7,000 United States military reserve components who gather to perform various missions ranging from setting up camp to medical to supply.
"It had the look and feel of a deployment," said Capt. Derrick Young, 944th FSS operations officer. "1st Cavalry was the simulated [Army] unit we supported [during the exercise]. We lodged them, fed them, and worked with them as far as bringing in food while they were responsible for transport, inventory and inspection of the food."
Young's role during the exercise was the operations officer in charge of Personnel Support for Contingency Operations, the dining facility, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and lodging. He and his team also helped stand-up the bare base.
"I think this training is something a lot of young Airmen should go through," said Tech. Sgt. Jeffery Charvat, 944th FSS food services technician. "It gives you an idea of how to build a bare base and how the operations go ... starting from nothing and building up. At first we didn't have showers, which was difficult. As the days go by, you start to get more resources ... and eventually you end up with a big tent city."
For two weeks, they experienced austere living conditions while going through potential real-world deployment scenarios. The 944th Airmen took these challenges and embraced the learning opportunities of working in a joint environment.
"I enjoyed working with the other service members, "Charvat said. "Meeting new people from different bases ... some had more experience which I could learn from in the field."
As for traditional reservists, who work one weekend a month and two weeks a year for their annual tour, the exercise provided a fully loaded training experience for all who attended. "I got a chance to do everything within my career field that I just don't get a chance to do during drill weekends," said Young. "It was a good learning experience. It was an absolute blast!"