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Additions to 5th CCG Combat Communications Readiness School helps prepare Airmen for deployment missions

Robins Air Force Base, Ga. -- The 5th Combat Communications Group Combat Communications Readiness School's new training site is taking a down-to-earth approach to educating Airmen.

The school, commonly called "Mob School" by its students, began using its new field exercise location, a 200-by-100 yard dirt field scattered with patchy weeds near the area known as PAVE PAWS (Perimeter Acquisition Vehicle Entry Phased Array Warning System) Feb. 18, when the first class took to the field for its four-day field exercise.

Col. Carl Block, commander of the 5th CCG, said the new exercise location helps Airmen develop the necessary skills for deployment missions.

"The 5th Combat Communications Group's Combat Readiness School trains warriors," he said. "We focus on developing leadership, basic survival, physical fitness and warfighting skills in each of our students.These skills are tested in a four-day field training exercise during which students must build and defend a field camp. We provide realistic scenarios complete with role players and real-time communication feeds to test commanders' skills in realistic wartime situations."

The 5th CCG and the 3rd Combat Communications Group at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Okla., are the only two units in the Air Combat Command that have Combat Communications Readiness schools.

1st Lt. Brant Tretter, 5th Combat Communications Support Squadron's Training Flight deputy commander, said the CCG school's new training site is a more realistic environment for the school's mission of training Airmen to set up BEAR (Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources) Base communications in a potentially hostile environment than its former training site.

"The way it was before, we were working out of Warrior Air Base and that's basically owned by the base," he said. "So, we had to schedule when we were going to use that around when different units would be out there training."

Lieutenant Tretter said the new training site that once was the radiation hazard area for PAVE PAWS has lost its radiation hazard status, making it an ideal location for the school's training purposes.

The area received more than $100,000 in infrastructure to tailor the area to meet the school's needs. Water, power and a few loads of concrete brought the field up to speed with the school's mission requirements.

Tech. Sgt. Randy Heidelbach, a combat skills instructor at the Mob school for 14 months, said the school's new addition gives Airmen the feeling of being in the real-world environment.

"It's a more realistic area, more of an open desert environment," he said. "The area is more like an airfield or a runway repair (area)."

Colonel Block said the new training site is a great asset to the school.

"The new exercise location provides a number of benefits," he said. "First, it is on a wide-open field, surrounded by a fence line, simulating an air base defense environment close to what we have seen in Southwest Asia. This provides a more realistic air base defense than our previous training location. This will better prepare our Airmen for the situations they will encounter as they deploy to Southwest Asia than the older facilities that we had which were surrounded by dense trees and did not have a fence line like most air bases."

The colonel said the training site is an example of the group's efforts to exceed the standard in preparing Airmen for the warfighting mission.

"The 5th Combat Communications Group's Combat Communications Readiness School has always met a higher standard in preparing our warriors for deployment because personnel in the 5th Combat Communications Group must be prepared to deploy to a hostile combat environment, and must be trained to a level that they can successfully defend themselves and their mission," he said. "Because of this requirement, students at our combat readiness school spend four days in the field testing themselves in a variety of scenarios including sniper fire, mortar attacks, and defending against full base attacks."