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Real value in training together

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Airmen from the New Jersey Air National Guard's 141st Air Refueling Squadron sit in a raft during water survival training at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla., Feb. 9, 2019. The 141st ARS and 150th Special Operations Squadron completed ground mission readiness and flying training events over three days. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Julia Santiago)

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Airmen from the New Jersey Air National Guard's 141st Air Refueling Squadron climb onto a raft during water survival training at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla., Feb. 9, 2019. The 141st ARS and 150th Special Operations Squadron completed over 200 training events in three days. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Julia Santiago)

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Airmen from the New Jersey Air National Guard's 141st Air Refueling Squadron swim toward a raft during water survival training at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla., Feb. 9, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea A. S. Williamson)

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U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bill S. Crouse, a pilot with the New Jersey Air National Guard's 141st Air Refueling Squadron, walks toward land after water survival training on Naval Air Station Key West, Fla., Feb. 9, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea A. S. Williamson)

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Staff Sgt. Stanley J. Tarasewicz, emergency manager, 108th Civil Engineer Squadron, discusses improved chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear protective readiness with Maj. Timothy P. Vanderpyl, pilot, 141st Air Refueling Squadron, while aboard a KC-135R Stratotanker, Feb. 9, 2019. Tarasewicz helped plan and teach the training. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea A. S. Williamson)

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Staff Sgt. Daniel R. Hansen, an aerospace medical technician, 141st Air Refueling Squadron, demonstrates the Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation procedure on Staff Sgt. Nicole F. Marcus, an aerospace medical technician, 141st Air Refueling Squadron, at Naval Air Station in Key West, Fla., Feb. 9, 2019. The Airmen taught self aid and buddy care training as a part of the Squadron Medical Element. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea A. S. Williamson)

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U.S. Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Daniel R. Hansen wraps a tactical tourniquet around the arm of Staff Sgt. Nicole F. Marcus during training at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla., Feb. 9, 2019. The Airmen taught self aid and buddy care training as a part of the Squadron Medical Element. Hansen and Marcus are both aerospace medical technicians with the 141st Air Refueling Squadron. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea A. S. Williamson)

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Airmen from the New Jersey Air National Guard's 141st Air Refueling Squadron prepare to fire small arms at the range on Naval Air Station Key West, Fla., Feb. 8, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea A. S. Williamson)

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U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. George C. Wutsch, a combat arms instructor with the 150th Security Forces Squadron, sets up a target on the range at Naval Air Station in Key West, Fla., Feb. 8, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea A. S. Williamson)

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Two KC-135R Stratotankers with the New Jersey Air National Guard's 141st Air Refueling Squadron fly to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla., Feb. 8, 2019. The Guardsmen will spend three days conducting weapons qualifications, self aid and buddy care, and water survival training. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea A. S. Williamson)

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Airmen from the New Jersey Air National Guard's 108th Civil Engineer Squadron and 141st Air Refueling Squadron wear protective masks during a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear readiness training excercise while aboard a KC-135R Stratotanker over the continental U.S., Feb. 8, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea A. S. Williamson)

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Airmen from the New Jersey Air National Guard's 141st Air Refueling Squadron and 150th Special Operations Squadron deplane a KC-135R Stratotanker after landing at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla., Feb. 8, 2019. The 141st ARS and 150th SOS traveled to Key West to participate in survival training events over the course of three days. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea A. S. Williamson)

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Airman 1st Class Brian Kilpatrick, boom operator, 141st Air Refueling Squadron, exits the KC-135R Stratotanker after landing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Feb. 10, 2019. The 141st ARS and 150th Special Operations Squadron completed over 200 separate ground mission readiness and flying training events in three days. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea A. S. Williamson)

NAVAL AIR STATION KEY WEST, Fla. --

The 141st Air Refueling Squadron and 150th Special Operations Squadron, New Jersey Air National Guard, completed 205 separate ground mission readiness and flying training events from Feb. 8-10, 2019 at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida.

“This TDY [temporary duty] was a chance for the Airmen in our unit to go somewhere together, spend time together, and build camaraderie,” said Lt. Col. Bill Liess, the deputy commander of the 108th Operations Group. “There is real value in that.”

Training included combat arms training and maintenance, water survival, life support, intelligence and tactics, self-aid and buddy care, and many more. “We achieved more training in these two-to-three days than we could over the course of multiple drill weekends,” said Liess. “It was a highly efficient use of people’s time.”

Coordination of a formation air refueling with a C-17 Globemaster III from the 437th Airlift Wing from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina was also accomplished. “Getting a formation air refueling scheduled is difficult and we managed to get this training accomplished very early in the year,” said Liess.

As the 141st ARS’s aerospace medical technicians, Staff Sgts. Daniel Hansen and Nicole Marcus were selected to instruct the SABC class. “We were excited for the opportunity to build more rapport with our patients in the 141st,” said Hansen and Marcus. “When we build camaraderie with them, they open up more making caring for them that much easier. This trip did a really good job of bringing people together to focus on the mission.”

Initially, the idea to do a training TDY in Florida was pushed during the summer of 2018. This joint training mission between the 141st and 150th squadrons going together would be a first for the 108th Wing said Liess.

It took a lot of planning to pull it together and Master Sgt. Steve Ritter, from the 150th SOS, and Senior Master Sgt. David Falkowski, from the 141st ARS, were the head coordinators for the trip.

“They were instrumental in putting everything together,” said Liess. “They even came two days ahead of everyone else to work out transportation and logistical issues.”

In addition to the 141st ARS and 150th SOS, there were other units that provided support for the TDY with a total of 57 participants from Tennessee and New Jersey. Participating units included the 164th Airlift Wing, Tennessee Air National Guard, 305th Operations Support Squadron, U.S. Air Force from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., as well as the 204th Intelligence Squadron, 108th Security Forces Squadron, 108th Maintenance Group, 108th Medical Group, and 108th Operations Support Squadron, all from the 108th Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard.