HILL AIR FORCE BASE — When Air Force reservists are called off to duty, hours of preparation typically precede the call.
That preparation can take many forms, sometimes mundane and sometimes exciting, but not often is it as “real-life” as it was earlier this month for a group of troops from Hill Air Force Base’s reserve fighter wing.
Last week, more than 50 reservists from the 419th Fighter Wing’s Security Forces Squadron spent four days at Utah Army National Guard Camp W.G. Williams, running a gauntlet of vigorous training exercises designed to simulate real-world war scenarios as accurately as possible.
During the four-day exercise, members of the 419th SFS hunted for enemy intelligence, clearing buildings, rescuing prisoners of war and apprehending high-profile enemy targets, and worked on communication techniques while under heavy enemy fire.
The training was designed to be stressful and physically demanding, preparing the Airmen for many of the life-threatening scenarios they could possibly face while on a combat deployment.
“This is an opportunity for us to come out here and actually work, train, get tactics down so we can deploy at forward locations anywhere around the world,” said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Richards. “A lot of the tactics that we learn right here, we can implement some of those similar type of tactics down range.”
Richards said deployments may call reservists to work harmoniously with other agencies and units that specialize in many different areas, so a jack-of-all-trades skill set is often required of reservists.
“We’re not just urban warfare, we’re not just security, we’re not just law enforcement — we’re everything,” Richards said. “We’re not necessarily going to be raiding buildings when we go somewhere, but what this does is it gives us an opportunity to have situational awareness. There may be times where we actually engage with local law enforcement or the Army or Marine Corps. We’ve got to understand how they work and operate as well.”
The Airmen said the field training allows them to a develop a mindset that will be essential when they deploy for real.
“It’s definitely a good change of pace compared to the usual,” said Senior Airman Jared Hughes. “This, we actually get to come out here and do what we talk about.”