435 CRG trains for contingency down range

Story and photos by Senior Airman Elizabeth Baker
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Contingency Response Top-Off course participants assigned to the 435th Contingency Response Group defend their position from a simulated aggressor during a tactical casualty care exercise Aug. 3 on Rhine Ordnance Barracks. The CR Top-Off training is a three-and-a-half day course teaching integrated defense, force protection, and tactical casualty care; skills the 435 CRG require while deployed.

Staff Sgt. Jack Williams, 435th Contingency Response Support Squadron independent duty medical technician, gives a post-exercise briefing for a Contingency Response Top-Off course tactical casualty care exercise Aug. 3 on Rhine Ordnance Barracks.

Staff Sgt. Edgar Cerrillo, 435th Security Forces Squadron Ground Combat Readiness Training Center instructor (left), instructs Contingency Response Top-Off course participants with the 435th Contingency Response Group on how to check a vehicle for explosives Aug. 3 on Rhine Ordnance Barracks.

Contingency Response Top-Off course participants assigned to the 435th Contingency Response Group defend their position from a simulated aggressor while evacuating a simulated injury victim Aug. 3 on Rhine Ordnance Barracks. During the course, the participants learned integrated defense, force protection and tactical casualty care, which they may need to use while opening new bases in deployed locations.

The mission of the 435th Contingency Response Group is to open up bare bases and air fields in austere environments. During base-opening operations, they may face a variety of threats. In the past, those who needed training to counter these threats needed to travel stateside to attend contingency response courses. The 435 CRG created Contingency Response Top-Off to replace stateside requirements and provide all necessary training locally in three days, saving thousands of dollars and hundreds of man hours and building a better bond between trainers and students.

Tech. Sgt. Joshua Sams, 435th Security Forces Squadron section chief for flyaway security and the combatives program, was one of the instructors during a recent CR Top-Off class.

“Training here is more effective than sending them back to the States,” Sams said. “Not only are we saving time, energy and effort by training them locally, but they’re getting trained by the same security forces members who deploy with them. We’re enhancing our relationships, camaraderie and capabilities by working with one another.”

Sams said that the CR Top-Off training is a three-and-a-half-day course teaching integrated defense, force protection, and tactical casualty care. Integrated defense encompasses all the 435 SFS operations and training that are involved in defending a base, while force protection describes the preventative measures taken to mitigate hostile actions against base personnel, resources and information. Tactical casualty care involves caring for wound victims in combat situations.

Participants spent time in classrooms receiving knowledge on topics such as use of force, entry control point operations, and tactical movements and formations. On field day the participants suited up in helmets and body armor, loaded blank ammunition into their weapons and headed out to the woods on Rhine Ordnance Barracks to do hands-on exercises such as checking vehicles for simulated explosives, detecting improvised explosive devices, and treating and caring for an injury victim under fire.

“The training has absolutely been effective,” said Master Sgt. William Crismon, 435th Contingency Response Squadron first sergeant and one of the course participants. “The instructors here are definitely on point, very professional and proficient in everything that they’re doing.”

As the participants treated simulated victims, checked beneath vehicles and defended their positions under simulated fire, instructors stood by to critique and give guidance.

“The most important part is that these members get this training, which is going to make them qualified to continue to deploy down range and continue operating the mission of the 435 CRG successfully,” Sams said. “Without this training they don’t have the most up-to-date tactics and techniques for what they need to do when they get to the austere environments.”

The 435 CRG is currently in the process of training 60 personnel with CR Top-Off and calculates that they will save approximately $210,000 and more than 10,000 man hours by training them locally.

“The most rewarding part has been seeing everybody operate together,” Crismon said. “Watching the experience and expertise from the cadre and watching the team grow.”

They intend to continue to giving their Airmen the best possible training, allowing the Airmen to continue their mission with the knowledge and experience they need to keep themselves and their country safe.