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    CE Copperheads increase mission readiness through hands-on training



    Story by Master Sgt. Michael Matkin 

    161st Air Refueling Wing   

    Airmen from the 161st Civil Engineer Squadron received hands-on readiness training at the 145th Civil Engineer Squadron Regional Training Site, New London, N.C., Aug. 2-6, 2021.

    The Copperheads traveled to the training site to focus on training, utilizing equipment not available at home station and build morale; building great teams within the 161 CES.

    “The equipment at home station is limited - limited to what the Airmen see and what they can put their hands on,” said 2nd Lt. Raymond Potts, officer in-charge of the engineering flight. “The [161 CES] travels to training sites such as the [145 CES RTS] to broaden the Copperhead Airmen’s horizons; gaining the ability to train, work on and troubleshoot more diverse equipment.”

    Tech. Sgt. Fritz Mendiola, heavy equipment operator with the 161st CES, said having the opportunity to train at the regional training site is a positive experience for the squadron. He said it can be difficult learning something when Airmen don’t receive hands-on experience.

    “Having the ability to utilize various equipment helps prepare [161 CES] Airmen for deployments, making sure every operator is certified and licensed, mission ready and mission capable,” said Mendiola.

    Many citizen Airmen have unrelated civilian occupations which makes them capable of doing a wide ranging tasks, a huge advantage for members of the National Guard.

    “It helps us be a little bit more rounded,” said Potts. “It helps us come at challenges and issues a different way - to be on top and meet the mission.”

    Being mission ready, also means being up to date on annual training requirements, such as combat skills training and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive materials (CBRNE) training.

    Tech. Sgt. Rikki Sechrist, emergency management specialist with the 161st CES, said her team doesn’t always have a lot of time at home station to provide training; however, being able to leave home station and travel to the RTS provides the emergency management team, and the squadron as a whole, the opportunity to focus on receiving and providing essential instruction.

    “Everyone is here in one location we can knock out CBRNE training in one shot for the whole section,” Sechrist said. “Coming out here has benefitted the overall readiness of the unit by allowing everyone to practice skills. It sets aside the allotted week for everyone to hash out what they need to. It is also a chance for us to bond and work together.”

    Having the opportunity to bond and work together as a squadron is important for National Guard Airmen who typically only work together one weekend a month, to see the big picture to fully understand the 161 CES mission.

    “It has helped me become a better member of the squadron, and a better leader, by seeing what everyone is required to do, as well as what everyone is capable of doing,” Potts said.



    Date Taken: 08.06.2021
    Date Posted: 08.06.2021 10:16
    Story ID: 402528

    Web Views: 191
    Downloads: 1