Fully integrated, self-sustaining

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Melissa K. Mekpongsatorn
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
The 820th Base Defense Group is known for being a fully integrated, self sustaining unit. But to be successful they need Airmen from 12 different Air Force specialty codes (AFSCs).

Several of these AFSCs played an instrumental part during training Oct. 23 to Nov. 1 at Camp Smith, N.Y. with the 823rd BDS from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and 105th Security Forces Squadron from Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y..

"In a deployed setting we are there to take care of all their medical needs. Everything is in our hands, from immunizations to Band-Aids," U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Andrea Jefferson, 823rd BDS independent duty medical technician. "During the training here, we taught tactical combat casualty care in the classroom and injected scenarios into the field training exercise so the guys would have to practice what they learned.

"It is important that they are trained and know what to do in case we are not there," she added.

Medical training was not the only training that was taught by other AFSCs during the 10 days at Camp Smith. The 823rd BDS has an explosive ordnance Airman assigned to them to teach improvised explosive device (IED) detection, and enemy tactics, plans and procedures.

"I have never done this sort of training before, so I think it is very beneficial," said Airman 1st Class Sean O'Keefe, 105th SFS fire team member. "There are a lot of new Airmen in the 105th, so I think it's not only beneficial to me, but to everyone."

The 823rd BDS and 105th SFS gained the all-important medical training that will save lives. They also learned battlefield skills from another important group of Airmen-communications specialists.

"We supply them with radios, behind the line of sight communications, and we can plot enemy locations," said Tech. Sgt. Muhammad Harrison, 823rd BDS team leader for communications. "We can go to a bare base and set up the radios and communication devices needed to get the job done."

The communications Airmen not only set up communication lines for the unit, they also train everyone on how to operate, program and troubleshoot radios and perform global positioning training.

"The guys from the 105th do not have other AFSCs assigned to them; they are only security forces, so most of them were learning this information from scratch. They were very eager and willing to learn," added Harrison. "We not only supply the radios that are needed, but give a crash course on how to use them and fix them."

All the training accomplished during the 10 days at Camp Smith was done to prepare the Airmen for when they have to deploy.

The 105th SFS currently does not have other AFSCs assigned to their unit, but hopes to make that happen.

"There is a lot of training being implemented here and the training they are receiving is vital for when they deploy," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Pacenza, 105th SFS assistant training manager.

Every AFSC assigned to the 823rd BDS plays a role in making sure the unit is self-sustaining and fully integrated once deployed. The training prior to deployment ensures everyone knows what to do, whether it's EOD, communications, medical or intelligence training.