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    161st ARW Defenders conduct annual training at Camp Navajo

    161st ARW Defenders conduct annual training at Camp Navajo

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Jayson Burns | U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Auston Baker, defender with the 161st Security Forces...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Jayson Burns 

    161st Air Refueling Wing   

    CAMP NAVAJO, Ariz. – Defenders from the 161st Security Forces Squadron traveled from Goldwater Air National Guard Base to Camp Navajo in Bellemont, Arizona, for five days of Annual Training, August 16-20, 2021.

    The intent of this year’s training was to collaborate with the Army National Guard, remain effective and efficient, and to keep to an overall state of readiness. Their training consisted of subjects such as land navigation, Troop Leading Procedures, and weapons sustainment with both the M4 carbine and M9 pistol.

    “We have our annual qualifications that we do, and in conjunction with that we also do sustainment training, stuff that we don’t normally get to do,” said Master Sgt. Robert Ehle, 161st Security Forces Squadron combat arms NCOIC. “Air Force qualifications have you shooting 25 meters, paper targets, so they’re all scaled. Here, we’re shooting live distance, out to 300, with pop up targets for both weapons. Something different, something to hone your skills and get quicker and more accurate.”

    Some defenders had a chance to qualify for the new M18 pistol, which is slated to replace the M9 as their default sidearm in the future.

    “We just got a new weapon system, the M18,” Ehle said. “It’s replacing the M9 Berettas, so we’ll be doing our annual quals in November for all of Security Forces. Before we can teach a weapon system, we have to be qualified on it first, so we took the opportunity to get all of the instructors qualified.”

    Due to its geographical location in northern Arizona, the terrain of Camp Navajo helps Airmen apply what they have been learning in the classroom as well. This includes how to read the terrain features on a topographical map, shooting grid/magnetic azimuth, and working with a compass and protractor.

    “You never know what your mission’s going to be,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Ong, 161st Security Forces Squadron S3 training instructor. “Land navigation is an important skill to have, and it’s one I feel like people should be excited to brush up on. Camp Navajo’s terrain’s fair. You can terrain associate at some points, and there’s some points where you have to thoroughly rely on your map and grid work, so you get the best of both worlds.”

    For some Airmen, this time was also used for M4 and M9 qualification training at the firing range under the guidance of Combat Arms Training and Maintenance personnel. CATM is responsible for training in small arms, as well as maintaining the equipment. Consistent attention to detail kept the learning environment safe, particularly around the range as Airmen treated every weapon as if it were loaded even after properly clearing them.

    On the last day of training, the defenders ran through a Military Operations in Urban Terrain course, where they cleared rooms in tight-quarters environments. Teams took turns navigating structures and the surrounding woods to apprehend opposing forces. This served as an opportunity for those Airmen who usually only work together one weekend a month to work on their comradery.

    “It’s a great group, they had a blast.” Ehle said. “We have a lot of new people, whether they be prior service or just new to the military or the unit. It’s hard when you only get to see people for one weekend a month, so it’s great to get everybody out here and actually get to know people and have fun with them.”

    For information on joining the Air National Guard, either in security forces or in one of the many other career fields, contact the recruiting office at 602-302-9112 or visit the Arizona Air National Guard Recruiting page on Facebook.



    Date Taken: 08.20.2021
    Date Posted: 08.20.2021 14:24
    Story ID: 403631
    Location: BELLEMONT, AZ, US

    Web Views: 181
    Downloads: 1