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MSG expands combat readiness to support wing

  • Published
  • By Capt. Amanda Ling, 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
  • 920th Rescue Wing

A desolate airfield came alive as 122 members of the 920th Mission Support Group received part-task-training on tactical field skills during an exercise here Feb. 4.

The field classes were part of the wing’s FURY HORIZON 22 exercise and were designed to observe how 920th MSG Airmen would react to threats by presenting real-world problems in a controlled environment.

“The MSG stepped outside of their normal career fields and became multi-functional Airmen; that’s what we were focused on. There is no written training for logistics readiness or force support that says we need to go out in the field; so instead of it being their first time when they deploy this exercise created an environment to learn with their peers,” said Lt. Col. Sarah Scaglione, 920th MSG Commander.

Prior to leaving Patrick SFB, Airmen were funneled through a deployment processing line where they received weapons, A-bags and flack vests. Once on site at Avon Park Air Force Range the expectation was to obtain accountability of personnel and equipment and proceed to set up a bare base while undergoing combat training.   

The 920th Security Forces Squadron put all Airmen through field classes including radio procedures, salute reporting, troop movement in contested areas, and land orientation/navigation. After sunset came establishment of encampment security, a meal of ready-to-eat rations and set-up of dispersed field bivouacs. The setting was perfect for continued training in night vision goggles and nighttime tactical considerations for security and protection with zero illumination and intense darkness from cloud coverage.

“The training helped put into practice, and create understanding, of what is in the Airman’s Manual. It took everyone back to the basics of being put into an austere environment and what to expect while establishing a base,” said Maj. Tracy Arnold, camp commandant.

A firewatch rotation was established by squads ahead of time. Firewatch is a sentry duty that watches over a military encampment and sounds the alarm if being attacked.  Throughout the evening a new set of individuals reported to the base defense operations center to relieve the previous crew. Every member on the ground participated in the firewatch to supplement security forces; many who experienced this for the first time.

In the early morning the camp was attacked by an opposing force who were held off by those securing the perimeter, many of whom were augmentees that were newly trained on firewatch the day before.

As the rescue portion of the event kicked off, the troops performed a 1.5-mile march in the dark to a hanger that was established through communication with a command post as a pickup location for the Airmen.  

HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters from the 301st Rescue Squadron arrived with pararescuemen to assist with simulated injuries and casualties and to prepare the group for extraction. They quickly took over and started treating and loading patients onto helicopters. Both operations and support personnel worked in conjunction to accomplish their mission of removing the injured personnel, once again establishing new skills and a comprehension of each other’s roles.

“At the end of the day not everyone will be comfortable going into the field but having that training, as well as working with operations and seeing how all the different pieces fit together, allows us to see where people are crucial and needed in the fight,” said Maj Arnold.  

The 920th Mission Support Group oversees mission sustainment functions including the force support squadron, logistics readiness squadron, communications flight and two security forces squadrons.