High deployment demands force intense preparations for members of 5th CCG

  • Published
  • By Amanda Creel
  • 78th ABW/PA
For members of the 5th Combat Communications Group, training and deploying is a job description they do not take lightly.

Because of the high deployment demands on the group, the group constantly strives to prepare all of its Airmen for any tasking.

About 35 Airmen from the group were being trained during an exercise April 7-11 at Gator Air Base. The trainees involved in the course will begin deploying to three different locations in the area of responsibility during the next few weeks.

During the Air and Space Expeditionary Force Deployment Preparation training course, members of the group are taught weapon discipline with the M-16 rifle, CPR and self-aid and buddy care.

Staff Sgt. Leo Heng, a combat skills instructor with the 5th Combat Communications Support Squadron, said the training is about creating the worst-case scenario and teaching the Airmen what actions are necessary in those situations.

"We are a combat communications squadron like our name says, so we prepare for the worst and hope for the best," Sergeant Heng said.

Some of the things taught included how to treat different injuries, such as broken bones, or what to do if someone went into shock.

"It teaches us how to take care of your wingman, because they are going to be taking care of you," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Haas, the unit deployment officer for the 54th Combat Communications Squadron.

The Airmen are also given the opportunity to practice the correct procedures during an unexploded explosive ordnance attack.

"When we do the UXO training, it keeps them looking for the unexpected," Sergeant Heng said.

All of the Airmen agreed they are hoping they won't need to utilize any of the training in the field, but are confidant the course will help them in the events any of the skills are needed.

"It's good to know the threat is real. Some of these guys haven't been deployed so they need to know what its like," said Senior Airman Joshua Jones, a network systems controller with the 54th CBCS.

Airman Jones said he not only was able to brush up on his skills during the course, but he was also able to share his experiences from previous deployments with some of the Airmen who have never deployed.

He said one of the many advantages of the training is allowing the Airmen to get more familiar with their weapons because many of them could be required to carry it everywhere they go during their upcoming deployment.

The same skills are taught in the 5th CCG's Combat Readiness School, which 2nd Lt. Andrew Moran, described as "a right of passage" for each member of the group.

However, the 54th CBCS communications and information officer added it is important to build and practice the skills learned at the school and the training course is a great opportunity to do that.

The trainees and instructors agreed the course helps them freshen up the skills needed in the field and allows them to turn the skills into "muscle memory."

"The more you do it, the less likely you are to panic when you have to do it," said Airman Jones.

During the event, Airmen are exposed to different scenarios where all of the skills they learned could be put to the test. One of the scenarios involved rescuing a member of their squadron during combat. The trainees were responsible for reaching the injured Airmen without being injured themselves, stabilizing the Airman and pulling him to safety.

"It allows us to be able to take care of ourselves in the line of fire," Sergeant Haas said.

For many of the Airman the course not only offers a chance to practice skills needed in the field, but it also gives Airmen from different parts of the group an opportunity to work together outside of a typical work environment.

Second Lt. Matthew Kahley, a communications and information officer with the 54th CBCS, said the team building during the training is important to the Airman's success as they serve together in the AOR.

"You are going to feel more comfortable knowing the person next to you has your back and can take care of you," Sergeant Hass said.