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    Team accomplishes multicapable Airman training during flyaway event

    302nd Airlift Wing team accomplishes multicapable Airman training during flyaway event

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Justin Norton | Master Sgt. Nathan Martinez, 302nd Operations Support Squadron survival, evasion,...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Justin Norton 

    302nd Airlift Wing

    More than 90 302nd Airlift Wing Airmen and three C-130H Hercules aircraft flew to Naval Air Station North Island, Nov. 3-5, to accomplish multicapable Airman training and gain greater awareness of where they fit into wing operations based on their job specialties.

    During flight Airmen observed three different missions depending on which aircraft they were flying on before receiving additional training the following day on the ground in San Diego.

    “The idea was to involve multicapable Airman into a flyaway experience that wasn’t strained like an exercise,” said Col. DeAnna Franks, 302nd Operations Group commander. “We wanted to put Airmen from all different job specialties on separate aircraft, many who have never flown before, and give them the opportunity to see different mission sets they don’t usually get to be a part of.”

    On one flight, 34th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight paramedics simulated patient transfer and care after working with ground medics at Luke Air Force Base during a short landing on the way to Naval Air Station North Island. Aboard another aircraft, Airmen experienced what it was like evading enemy fighter aircraft as aircrew engaged in simulated fighter interdiction operations with A-10 Thunderbolts and F-22 Raptors. Airmen aboard the last aircraft were meant to see an airdrop that resembled a downrange mission where the crew lands, onloads cargo, takes off again and airdrops it to a different location.

    “We had an opportunity to show so many different folks in the wing what we do,” said Maj. Douglas Parrish, 731st Airlift Squadron C-130 aircraft pilot. “This is essentially what all wing personnel support when we go downrange or train in the local area. They get to see the muscle movement involved with taking aircraft off station, manage risk while protecting a C-130, transporting equipment, and administering high-level patient care.”

    On the ground the next day Airmen divided into four groups that rotated to different training blocks each led by subject matter experts.

    A team from the 302nd Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment shop demonstrated the various equipment Airman have available to them in the event of an aircraft emergency. Tech. Sgts. Kevin Merritt, Matthew Kenny and Chad Gouge, aircrew flight equipment specialists, explained the proper usage of signaling equipment, protective wetsuits, oxygen masks and the inflatable vests that Airmen use to stay alive in a 20-man life raft if they’re stranded.

    Master Sgt. Nathan Martinez, 302nd Operations Support Squadron survival, evasion, rescue and escape instructor, taught each group the basics of how to survive under such conditions before directing Airmen to inflate the raft and carry it out into the open water on the San Diego shoreline. After they all jumped in Martinez joined them and explained the basics of how to conserve resources, maintain the raft and take care of each other all while waves buffeted the crew. Airmen learned how to ration limited supplies of water and food as well as how to conceal themselves under a tarp secured within the life raft.

    The 302nd Security Forces Squadron led another training block teaching Airmen basic weapons knowledge and tactics as well as Shoot, Move, Communicate skills used by security forces defenders. Tech. Sgt. Austin Putnam and Master Sgt. Trey Trotter, 302 SFS defenders, handed Airmen training rifles and tasked them with advancing through a series of sand dunes while protecting each other as they move to each point of cover. They practiced the same tactics in reverse order, simulating a retreat to the starting location.

    Nearby, Tech. Sgt. Charles Motley, 302nd Communications Flight radio specialist, taught a segment on how to operate and communicate using a radio when coordinating rescue efforts in an austere environment. He showed Airmen how the radio antenna directs signals and how to best communicate with search rescue teams all while evading potential adversaries.

    At one of the parked C-130 aircraft on the flight line, Staff Sgt. Jacob Hillman and Capt. Bianca Barker, 34 AES flight paramedics, taught a group how their crews secure patients in flight and treat them while enroute to more stable care. Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Delp and Staff Sgt. Mitchell Fordred, 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron medical technicians, demonstrated how to implement tactical combat casualty care techniques to stabilize injured patients so they’re prepared for transport to a treatment facility.  

    Finally, 39th Aerial Port Squadron Airmen demonstrated how to properly operate a forklift while carrying a pallet. Staff Sgts. William Lipscomb and Philip Carver, 39 APS air transportation specialists, guided Airmen while they took turns navigating the forklift through a cone obstacle course set up in advance. Their goal was to weave through the cones without touching them and return to the starting location to set the pallet back on the ground.

    “They loved every bit of it,” said Chief Master Sgt. Kimberly Lord, 302 AW command chief. “They were ready to go and get in the fight! I had multiple Airmen telling me it was the best training they ever had. They’re ready to do it again. Not only did the training build the foundations for the multicapable Airman concept we’re trying to instill, but it built relationships and helped Airmen connect with people whose job may be a better fit for them in the future for potential retraining.”

    The training also presented aircraft maintainers the opportunity to showcase their capability to generate multiple aircraft ready to go all at once. Airmen from various maintenance specialties worked together to accomplish required inspections and prepare more than half the fleet to launch at the end of the week.

    “I think it was great seeing all of us come together,” said Master Sgt. Jesse Zambrano, 302nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron C-130 crew chief. “It’s like a deployment, in a sense, where we’re more of a unified force. When there’s a task at hand, stand aside because we’re going to get it done. It’s a challenge we all welcomed, we all know this environment and we’re ready to make it happen.”

    Airmen from specialized maintenance career fields routinely stepped into to help fulfill roles they don’t normally fill. From supporting engine runs, securing armor, helping refuel or supplying tools to other maintainers, maintainers all banded together to contribute to the mass aircraft generation operation.

    “Maintenance deserves a lot of credit because they were asked to launch almost every available aircraft we have and that’s an incredible amount of muscle movement, especially from a reservist respective,” said Parrish. “Three aircraft launched at once is an admirable accomplishment considering the work that was needed to make it happen.”

    Planning for the training began as early as spring. San Diego afforded the wing a stable climate to train in, a nearby beach to conduct water survival and fireteam tactics training and a chance for Airmen to connect during downtime in an unfamiliar location.

    “It would be great to do it again with different crews so more people can get exposure,” said Zambrano. “Out of uniform, you get a better idea of who you’re talking to. We’re all individuals with our own stories and getting to know each other better was one of the best parts about it. This helps to network and bridge the gaps between each other.”

    A similar training experienced is slated to occur again in late 2024.

    “Everyone was very excited about it,” said Franks. “It was a positive experience and it’s something we can duplicate. There were a few things we can do better, of course, but now we have a template we can work off and take it to next year.”


    Date Taken: 11.15.2023
    Date Posted: 11.21.2023 13:04
    Story ID: 458315

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