Fort McCoy News July 22, 2016

Airmen build shoot-move-communicate skills

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

More than 80 Air Force security-forces Airmen with Air National Guard units in Illinois and Georgia completed five days of shoot-move-communicate training at Fort McCoy July 11-15.

The main parts of the training took place at Ranges 34, 36, and 41 on Fort McCoy's North Post. At Range 34, the Airmen qualified on heavy weapons, such as the M249 and M240. At Range 41, they practiced bounding-forward, communications, and movement tactics on two separate lanes. At Range 36, a live-fire shoothouse range, the Airmen reacted to multiple live-fire scenarios.

Security-forces Airmen participate in shoot-move-communicate training at Range 41 on Fort McCoy’s North Post July 13.
Security-forces Airmen participate in shoot-move-communicate training
at Range 41 on Fort McCoy's North Post July 13.

"We take the approach to this training as a crawl-walk-run," said Master Sgt. James Kavanagh, unit training officer with the 183rd Security Forces Squadron (SFS) of the Illinois Air National Guard at Springfield and one of the primary instructors for the training at Fort McCoy.

"Our overall training goal with this is to teach Airmen to shoot, move, and communicate and for each security-forces member to become proficient at applying these skills."

Kavanagh said the skills learned from the training allow personnel to engage enemy threats while acting as a team.

"To accomplish the training goal, these Airmen had to demonstrate safe weapon handling, proper communication, and movement skills while engaging threats," he said.

In addition to the 183rd, other security-forces units participating in the training included the Illinois Air National Guard's 182nd SFS of Peoria and 126th SFS of Scott Air Force Base and the Georgia Air National Guard's 116th SFS of Robins Air Force Base.


"The idea was to get three or more units together to do this training," Kavanagh said. "This gets us all together and makes sure we are all training to the same standards across the board (for our career field)."

Master Sgt. Steve Ask, squad leader with the 126th SFS, served as the officer in charge of training operations at Range 41. He said use of the Fort McCoy ranges "really helped" expedite the types of training they wanted to accomplish.

Airmen complete M249 qualifications at Range 34 as part of their training at Fort McCoy.
Airmen complete M249 qualifications at Range 34 as part of their training
at Fort McCoy.

"Air Force bases, in general, don't really have space like this in terms of firing ranges, so it's nice to be able to come here and utilize facilities specifically designed for this kind of training," Ask said. "Knowing we can come out here and have facilities immediately available … is extremely beneficial for us.

"We also have a lot of younger troops who haven't had a lot of experience doing stuff like this, so this is great for them to experience this," he said.

Tech. Sgt. Chance Farmer, an instructor for the training with the 126th SFS, said each student did well.

"One main thing we tried to teach them was to communicate well under fire and maneuver on the enemy that is firing at them," Farmer said. "And with all these units working together, the training also helped us to standardize the communication among the units, which helps the Airmen overall. This has been really good for all involved."

The training was completed at Fort McCoy prior to the Airmen participating in the National Guard's Patriot Exercise at Fort McCoy and Volk Field, Wis., in late July.

For more information about training opportunities at Fort McCoy, call the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security at 608-388-5038.