Not just another UTA for the 108th Security Forces
By Staff Sgt. Brian Carson, 108th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 24, 2014
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- When members of the 108th Security Forces Squadron come in on drill weekend, they never really know what to expect. Not always is the weekend filled with CBT's and annual training requirements that usually keep everyone tied to their desks. During the September drill, members from the 108th SF squadron found themselves out in the field conducting an exercise called Sadler Cup, which was designed to work and focus on real world skills and scenarios, mainly air-base ground defense.
"One of the main goals of this exercise is to focus on air base ground defense while building comradery and bringing leadership experience to different individuals within our unit," said Capt. Alvin Mallette, 108th Security Forces Executive Officer.
In addition to working on morale and leadership training, there were other reasons for this training to take place as well.
"The teams will be working on land navigation, squad maneuvering tactics and weapons proficiency while working within the scenarios put forth in this exercise," said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Rackaukas, a 108th Security Forces member. "These skills are needed for when we deploy and these scenarios aim to reinforce that fact."
There were two teams working two different scenarios encompassing all of the above skills. The first scenario dealt with rebel forces that have moved into Chango village and were attempting to take it over. Recent intelligence indicated that they had in their possession a surface to air missile (SAM) and that they planned to shoot down an aircraft with it. The challenge for the team was to quickly respond to the village, tactically locate the rebels with the SAM and secure the village.
"The goal of this first scenario is to get the team working on communication, tactical deployment of the team itself and ultimately, mission success," said Rackaukas.
The overall success of the mission was defined by the learning opportunities and refresher training that the exercise provided, given that the majority of the skills being put on display are not regularly used by some of the junior members.
"This is my first exercise with the unit and I'm looking forward to the challenge," said Airman 1st Class Jonathon Bustios, a 108th Security Forces member. "This is giving me a great opportunity to work on my land navigation and rear security skills."
While the first team was navigating through the village scenario, the second team was negotiating another challenge of its own.
The second scenario dealt with the rescue of a downed pilot who was located in a hostile area. The mission was to deter, detect, and neutralize the rebel forces in the area and locate the downed pilot before he was captured. To add to the real world urgency, the pilot had vital recon data on him that needed to be collected.
"Communication between team members is paramount, especially when working in these types of high stress environments," stated Mallette. "Along with practicing these necessary skills or tools of the trade, the experience gained from a training exercise such as this will only serve to benefit our unit when we deploy, which is really the ultimate goal."