Building Agility and Confidence

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Sarah Miller
  • 133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 133rd Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) embarked on a four-day training exercise at Camp Ripley. The training was intended to broaden tactical experiences and increase warrior ethos for Airmen.    
Once settled at Camp Ripley, the squadron went to work with the first exercise, experiencing the effects of gas exposure in the chamber and out in the field. This type of exposure focused on boosting their confidence and showing their protective gear and equipment work. 
"Going through the gas chamber reignites an Airman's confidence in the suit and their gear," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Morgan Johnson, 133rd CES. "We want people to trust their gear and know it will keep them safe."
 On the second day, the focus shifted to learning the basics of convoy operations, personnel movements, and land navigation. The skills are viewed as a foundation for Airmen.
"Learning these tactics is one of the building blocks to developing contingency operations in the ever-changing environment we are now facing," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Dennis Kowalczyk, 133rd CES. "These skills are needed to strengthen [the] agile combat airman [concept]."

Saturday was the big event. A field training exercise, where the squadron members implemented all the training from the previous two days. Each member was issued a paintball gun and assigned a team. The exercise started with a convoy to the site, which was 'ambushed' on the way. Each team was responsible for locating four way-points, calling in locations, and using troop movements to avoid being found and potentially ambushed by the insurgent team.   
 "We [are] moving away from computer-based training and toward hands-on, applicable training," reflects U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Crystal Smith. "Teaching in a classroom and applying the skills we [were] taught drove home the agile airman concept, giving us the base to continue building off." 
The squadron tackled a confidence course on the last day, where the teams worked together to encourage each other and complete each obstacle in a timed competition. The entire four-day training exercise was an incredible way for members of the CES to come together, train, and put that training into use to increase team cohesion.