MALABAR, Fla. --
The 920th Mission Support Group applied Agile Combat Employment concepts to hone their tactics, techniques, and procedures to execute field operations in contested, austere environments during exercise DISTANT SHADOW here, March 2.
Over 150 920th MSG Airmen were taken to a remote location where they spent several days participating in scenario-based training to enhance their capabilities as multi-capable Airmen to further support the 920th Rescue Wing’s combat search and rescue mission.
The rough terrain, abandoned buildings, and variety of vegetation immersed Airmen into an experience that challenged their ability to carrying out major combat operations within austere environments. Within 24-hours, the Airmen had established a base camp where they worked together to setup base-wide communications, slept in tents, and were served hot meals from a Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen. The SPEK, a tent-based field kitchen, is powered by its own diesel generator, requires no external utility support, and can be set up in nearly any climate.
“Our goal is to keep everyone in the mission support group relevant to execute major combat operations anywhere. They have a critical role in the success of the mission; making it paramount they be trained, assessed, and validated in the execution of their tasks,” said Lt. Col. Sarah Scaglione, 920th MSG commander.
The 920th MSG provides full spectrum mission sustainment for the 920th RQW. It is comprised of the Force Support Squadron, Logistics Readiness Squadron, Security Forces Squadron, and Communications Flight.
The objective of the exercise is to increase the 920th MSG’s proficiency in wartime skills and mission sustainment functions. During the exercise, Airmen completed basic Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training procedures, Tactical Combat Casualty Care, land navigation, MRZR Alpha light tactical vehicle training, small unit tactics, and base defense. Development of these skills ensures the group can implement dynamic force employment strategies for combat operations.
DFE, an element of the National Defense Strategy, is the priority of maintaining the capacity and capability for major combat. While training in major combat operations, standard operating procedures and CSAR strategies, Airmen develop their ability to respond to emergencies and meet all mission requirements.
“It is important for the mission support group to be familiar with this training so that in real world operations we will not be caught off guard. The focus is to place Airmen in various scenarios, allowing them to incorporate everything they have learned,” said Master Sgt. Jaclyn Bean, 920th MSG Operational Planning Team lead.
DFE was used during the final phase of exercise DISTANT SHADOW where Airmen simulated ambulatory patients to role play in scenario-based training to enhance combat lifesaving skills. The 920th Force Support Squadron lead the way, acting as mortuary affairs during a search and recovery scenario.
The mortuary affairs Airmen were charged with locating and identifying remains, ensuring safe transport of the deceased and their belongings, and assisting with funeral arrangements.
“This search and recovery training showed the adaptability of the Force Support Squadron and how we must modify our duties as quickly as possible. Keeping accountability is critical especially when working in mortuary affairs where finding lost or fallen Airmen is one of our most important roles on the field,” said Tech Sgt. Karey Halbin, 920th FSS non-commissioned officer in charge of readiness.
Exercise DISTANT SHADOW showcases the 920th MSG’s application of ACE concepts to successfully complete the wing’s mission to plan, lead and conduct military rescue operations while denying competitors and adversaries exploitation of isolated personnel.