822d BDS crawls through FMP

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

A child’s first steps are monumental for them and the parents that have coached and encouraged them; but before they walk, they roll over, crawl and stand.

Likewise, the 822d Base Defense Group uses Tactical Operation Center exercises, Full Mission Profiles and Mission Readiness exercises to lay the foundation for the development of skills vital for them to deploy successfully.

The 822d BDS conquered the crawling stage of that development Feb. 14-15 when its members completed a Full Mission Profile exercise, here.

“This gets them in the mindset for what we’ll be getting ourselves into during the MRX,” said Staff Sgt. Kayla Ross, 822d BDS training NCO. “During this [FMP] we’ll see all the hiccups and shortfalls we currently have so we can fix them and be ready for the MRX.”

To prepare for an upcoming MRX, the 822d BDS is completing training exercises that will gradually increase in difficulty each week. The TOC exercise tested communication between key leadership and intelligence personnel and their ability to provide information and direction to Airmen outside the wire.

The FMP upped the stakes by increasing the complications and dangers of scenarios that challenged Airmen on simulated patrols and pushed leadership in the TOC to successfully guide the Airmen through the challenges.

“This [training] is what we’re going to do down range,” said Staff Sgt. Dustin Bennet, 822d BDS fireteam leader. “The people that plan these MRXs have all been deployed. It’s not just someone with no deployed experience throwing something together, its people who have been there and experienced this. It’s incredibly realistic and it definitely gets us ready to go and is why we’ve been so successful on the deployments we’ve been on.”

During the FMP, the 822d set up a bare base, put up tents for communications, barricaded entry control points, manned defensive fighting positions and equipped Airmen with supplies.

Airmen new to the squadron have never done an exercise like this before. While it is important for them to learn from the NCOs showing them the ropes, the exercise is also designed to get them to trust themselves.

“Since they’ve never experienced this before they’re a little jittery and unsure but that is why we do this,” said Ross. “This experience will help them learn what to look for. It will build their confidence to challenge an individual they don’t recognize and to relax a little bit and know that they know their job.”

Ross commented that there have been improvements with the new Airmen, communication up and down the chain of command and successful scenario completion, but practice makes perfect.

“This exercise reminds people of things they forgot during their training,” said Ross. “The flights have been training individually using a mission training plan, but during the FMP when the flight chief isn’t giving the scenarios it really lets them see their weaknesses so they can get better.”

While there’s always room for improvement, the experience the new Airmen are getting is invaluable.

“My favorite part is learning things hands on,” said Airman 1st Class Alex Carrier, 822d BDS fireteam member. “I learn a lot faster [that way] because I can see what I’m doing wrong and change it. The more repetitions I do, the better I get.”

Getting better, knowing and successfully performing their duties is vital to the 822d BDS mission which is to protect Air Expeditionary Forces around the globe at a moment’s notice by providing fully-integrated, highly capable and responsive forces.

When the squadron comes back from a deployment they are removed from on-call status and are placed in a training window. When they go through their MRX they will be judged by an outside agency on everything they’re training on.

If they’re successful, they will regain their on call status as a Global Response Force and will be ready to deploy again, anywhere in the world.

Most shops, units, squadrons, groups and wings send individuals downrange to integrate into another unit and come back at the end of the tour. That sense of family and knowing who has your back comes from the 822d constantly training and deploying together.

“I’m proud to be a part of Safeside,” said Bennet. “We work as one cohesive unit and have a sense of family. When we deploy we’re watching out for our brother or our sister. We have more invested in each other because we work with each other 365 days a year so when we go downrange it’s like you’re going with your best bud and you have to look out for them.”