Training center uses combat lessons to evolve

Master Sgt. John E. Lasky, Story and photos
Air Force Print News

***image1***There are a lot more trees here than in Iraq. It’s definitely not as hot as in Iraq – and there’s a lot more snow.

But the training going on at this once busy A-10 Thunderbolt II base is straight from the hotspots of Iraq.

The 786th Security Forces Squadron’s Regional Training Center, called “Creek Defender,” is here evaluating SF quads use what they’ve learned for the last two weeks. The squadron’s job is to provide pre-deployment integrated base defense training for U.S. Air Forces in Europe security forces going in war zones.

The training also prepares command security forces for missions throughout the European Command’s area of operations and other with other combatant commands throughout the world.

“After determining our previous training was outdated, the RTC staff prepared a concept of operations in October of 2005 outlining a plan to contemporize our training curriculum,” said Senior Master Sgt. Patrick Herdman, who is the centers superintendent.

Instructors created more than 40 lesson plans incorporating training objectives to counteract insurgent threats in the U.S. Central Command area of operations. The bulk of the plans were constructed with direct feedback from security deployed to war zones.

“We queried previous Creek Defender students currently deployed – and the Army and Marine Corps sources – to ensure we profited from their experiences and integrated tactical lessons learned,” Sergeant Herdman said.

The program concept was founded on the need to change from a purely instruction-based curriculum to one focused on tactics to defeat adversaries. Instructors created a new planning and execution platform focusing threat, capabilities and vulnerabilities based approaches to maximize performance to meet intended effects.

After completing the new course under the revised curriculum in December, students with deployed experience provided resounding feedback indicating the training offered is what’s needed to prepare for combat operations, Sergeant Herdman said.

***image2***Senior Master Sgt. Glynn Davis, operations superintendent for the 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron, is a veteran of four previous contingency deployments.

He said, “The training was spot on. This course gave us training to succeed and survive in the desert.”

Tech. Sgt. Rhonda Betterton, of the 100th SFS at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, said the course was outstanding.

“The convoy and military operations in urban terrain course make me feel confident and prepared for my upcoming deployment,” she said.

Tech. Sgt. Gregory Marchand, flight chief from the 52nd SFS at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, said training made him “feel much more at ease,” because he knows “I’m not deploying into a situation blind.

“That easy feeling I have has also eased some of the anxiety my family has been feeling,” Sergeant Marchand said.  “And that alone makes this the most valuable training I have received.”
Sergeant Herdman said the training cadre’s ultimate goal is to ensure their training is relevant, credible and flexible. The instructors take their job seriously.

“It’s personal,” he said. “We want to ensure the personnel who attend Creek Defender are the best trained and most respected combat professionals, able to meet, defeat or overcome any challenge.”