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    188th Wing hosts SPEARS course, equipping Airmen for austere environments

    188th Wing hosts SPEARS course, equipping Airmen for austere environments

    Photo By Maj. Jennifer Gerhardt | U.S. Air Force Airmen attend the Specialized Personnel and Equipment for Austere...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Jennifer Gerhardt 

    188th Wing

    Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Ark. -- The 188th Wing hosted, in collaboration with the Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center, the Specialized Personnel and Equipment for Austere Reconnaissance and Surveillance (SPEARS) course recently.

    SPEARS was developed by Air National Guard Airmen to increase training to prepare for the future fight with a pacing challenge.

    “Emergency Management senior leaders identified the SPEARS course as the major difference between students’ success in the austere or contested training environments,” said Chief Master Sgt. Noah Flick, the Air National Guard emergency management career field functional manager.

    Since its inception, more than 150 students have attended the course, and the experience pays off. Two Air National Guard flights who attended the course were voted superior performers at the Air Force’s two-week chemical, biological, radiological nuclear validation exercise (CBRN VALEX).

The SPEARS course aligns with the Air Force’s concept of the Six Fights We Must Win by ending with a multiday field exercise where participants receive orders, establish plans, and complete them in various CBRN missions while addressing logistical challenges. Blocks of instruction also include small team dynamics, austere environment casualty care and care under fire, tactical communications, and movement of vehicles via airlift.

    “SPEARS enables Airmen assigned to the Austere Environment Recon and Surveillance teams to move quickly, effectively and discreetly in austere environments,” said Staff Sgt. Jimmy Pearce, a course instructor from the 113th Civil Engineering Squadron, in the District of Columbia Air National Guard. “This capability challenges adversarial threats to air operations in the Pacific environment.”

    Graduates of the SPEARS course have praised its practical application and relevance to real-world scenarios.

    “This is a new frontier of operation for emergency management. Often the most successful methods down range were a departure from our traditional methods we have used in the past,” said Tech Sgt. Jacob Davis, a course participant from the 124th Civil Engineering Squadron, in the Idaho Air National Guard. 

    While acknowledging the course’s challenges, participants are encouraged to persevere, embrace the difficulties, and push through to overcome challenges.

    “Being in a leadership role was most likely the hardest part of the course because you want to get it right for your team,” said Davis. “Focusing on accomplishing the mission successfully, keeping your team safe and effective, and taking care of yourself so you can be a worthwhile leader is difficult.  Once we entered the field portion of the training and it was go-time, it brought all of us to a better understanding of what it will take to be successful down range.”

    “I do anticipate the skills learned in SPEARS will be tested in the INDOPACOM theater as we expand our footprint throughout the third and fourth island chains,” said Flick.  “Contested logistics throughout EUCOM/INDOPACOM will make it hard for Airmen to have reach back support and they will use all the SPEARS skills learned to ensure mission accomplishment.”



    Date Taken: 02.06.2024
    Date Posted: 02.06.2024 15:15
    Story ID: 463315
    Location: FORT SMITH, AR, US
    Hometown: FORT SMITH, AR, US

    Web Views: 355
    Downloads: 0