Airmen qualify on Navy course of fire to enhance interoperability

  • Published
  • By Julie Svoboda
  • 82d Training Wing

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas-- Defenders from the 82nd Training Wing Security Forces Squadron recently qualified on the Navy Course of Fire in a first for Sheppard Air Force Base to further service interoperability in a deployed environment.

The course of fire, which is a qualifications course consisting of weapons tactics and procedures, allowed the defenders to experience Navy training, which Operations Officer 1st Lt. Matthew Warren said will better prepare them for deployments in joint environments with sister services or U.S. coalition partners.

“Sheppard has always been known as an Education and Training Command platform. We leverage students and combat capability and deliver graduates to their first major command,” he said. “In this scenario, we are continuing to build upon the multi-capable airman concept with permanent party defenders, who still have to go and not only serve this community, which is the Airmen but are also deployed and supporting combatant commanders.”

Ensuring Sheppard defenders are equally competent guarding students at Sheppard and defending air bases while deployed aligns with the Air Force Agile Combat Employment concept that emphasizes the requirement for multi-capable Airmen.

Tech. Sgt. Jay Wallace, 82nd Security Forces Chief of Weapons and Tactics, saw the need for this type of training collaboration when he was deployed to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and worked with soldiers and Marines. He worked with Warren and Tech Sgt. Richard Hyde, Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge of Combat Arms to coordinate the training.

“We need to be working with our joint partners to mitigate any kind of shortfall we have,” Wallace said. “That opens the door for allowing us to have a singular communication saying, ‘hey, we have weapons qualifications in common, what else do we have in common? How can we synchronize tactics in an operational environment?’”

According to Wallace, training with other military branches builds camaraderie and boosts mutual respect by breaking down misconceptions between sister services while it sharpens combat-related skills. Working with soldiers and Marines while deployed showed how this cross-training builds a stronger team.

“Fostering understanding about what we do and why it's important is great,” he said. “Weapons use is one of the things that we all share as a military force. We’re all required to have certifications and weapons qualifications. That’s where we find common ground.”

Navy Lt. Gayle Gauck, Officer in Charge of the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering Detachment at Sheppard, coined Wallace and Hyde for their efforts.

“I think the security forces being able to go to that course getting qualified and then coming back and training their other folks on it is awesome,” she said. “They’re expanding their skill set across the security forces here at Sheppard, which benefits everybody here including the Navy as a tenant command, making sure that the bases are secured. It brings a broader perspective to those Airmen too, because we all we all train, but we all train a little differently based on what our mission set within our services are. It broadens that perspective and enhances your skills so you understand any situation you come across, you have that experience, and you have that skill set to draw from, which can make you that much more adaptable to whatever you're facing.”

Wallace sees this type of collaboration as a means to propel Air Force defender readiness forward, which is vital for future conflicts.

“We always need to be preparing for the future,” Wallace said. “We can't be stagnant. We should always try to reach out to foster joint relationships. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel but realign it to the goal of winning in the future. We can’t have the mentality that ‘it was good enough yesterday, it should be good enough today’, because what was good enough yesterday isn't going work tomorrow. We need to be constantly preparing for the future.”