822d BDS rolls through TOC

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Janiqua P. Robinson
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs

Rolling over, crawling and standing; all vital phases in children’s development that lay the foundation for when they start walking and running.

Likewise, Tactical Operation Center Exercises, Full Mission Profiles and Mission Readiness Exercises; lay the foundation for the development of skills vital for the 822d Base Defense Squadron to deploy.

The 822d BDS began that preparation this week when its members completed its rolling over phase with a TOC exercise, here.

“TOC exercises test our capabilities and how key leadership will handle their roles when it comes to the real thing,” said Staff Sgt. Karonja Knight, 822d BDS training NCO. “This week’s exercise engaged the flight chiefs, their commander and everyone else to lay the foundational skills we will need.”

Key leadership and intelligence personnel in the TOC, provide information and direction to Airmen outside the wire. While the flight or squad is out doing the mission, the leader relays information to someone in the TOC and that information is relayed up the chain of command, then directions are sent back down.

For newcomers to the 822d BDS this three-month training could be very challenging, so the training leaders start off slow with the TOC exercise and gradually increase difficulty each week.

“We’re in a three-month training right now,” said Staff Sgt. Dustin Bennet, 822d BDS fireteam leader. “Right now we’re doing very well, but there’s a lot that can be thrown at us and this exercise helps us see where we’re at.”

While it may seem like a simple exercise, changes in leadership roles, personalities and communication styles could make each TOC exercise unique and challenging. Since these leaders will have the same roles when the 822d BDS deploys, getting it right here helps ensure success.

“We use exercises to evaluate our capabilities and see how well we perform before we go downrange,” said Bennet. “The good thing about [exercises] are if we fall short in some areas we still have time to bang out the kinks.”

While leadership is working out kinks in the TOC, Airmen simulate various missions they might be tasked to complete during a deployment. They start with the TOC exercise, where they simulate being ambushed while out on patrol, gathering intelligence from residents in the local village and raiding buildings. Soon, they’ll go through a Full Mission Profile, adding more difficulty by adding in flash bangs, smoke and more difficult scenarios.

“It’s definitely a learning experience,” said Airman 1st Class Alex Carrier, 822d BDS fireteam member. “You learn to work with a lot of different personalities and you feed off each other on a daily basis. I’m learning that there’s multiple ways to do everything. I’ve never done this before and I’m learning how to react and what to do if these scenarios pop up when I deploy.”

Knowing what to do during deployed situations is the goal of the 822d BDS training efforts. They must be ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, but in order to do so, they have to train until the procedures are second nature.

“It’s instinctive, almost like riding a bike,” said Bennet. “When we’re at home, we are training so when we get downrange it’s engrained in us. If something happens we get right into our tactics and go through our procedures because we’ve done it so many times back home.”

Training how they fight is what has helped them be successful during their deployments, commented Bennet, but caring about the Airmen they deploy with helps them get home safely.

“Training is important because at the end of the day I want to go home,” said Carrier. “I don’t want anyone to not go home because I didn’t do my job. If I do what I’m supposed to do, I can save lives. Not just of the person next to me, but others around me.”

In the upcoming weeks the 822d BDS will crawl through the Full Mission Profile in preparation to stand through the Mission Readiness Exercise in March.