MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- For the first time, the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. used its semiannual training as the foundation for something more.
The 927th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Joint Communication Support Element and the U.S. Army’s 5th General Support Aviation Battalion from Clearwater, Fla. joined the EOD team for a joint, total force training exercise, July 2, 2018.
“The purpose of this training exercise is to certify medics, pilots and our EOD technicians for deployment,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. John Barr, NCOIC of EOD training. “More importantly, it’s to give everyone involved more experience on what to expect in a combat situation.”
During the exercise, all units reacted to simulated improvised explosive devices as well as combat and medical scenarios.
The 927th ASTS added the Tactical Combat Care Course (TCCC) to the training exercise with expert instructors and even medical manikins capable of speaking and bleeding to simulate real battlefield injuries.
“I enjoyed the new training elements with the medical manikins," said Senior Airman Taylor Lahteine, an EOD technician assigned to the 6th CES. "Receiving the training our medics go through makes me more confident for if I ever need to provide self-aid buddy care to someone who is injured."
Lahteine explained seeing the simulated patient being airlifted by the U.S. Army's 5th GSAB medics, pilots and UH-60 Black Hawk also provided a beneficial training element he had never seen before.
JCSE's medical operations experts also joined to improve interoperability and consistency during training that will ultimately strengthen deployed warfighters.
“Every branch of service trains in its own way,” said MSgt. Michael Abesada, the NCOIC of medical operations assigned to JCSE. “However, in the outcome that determines if someone lives or dies, having continuity in our training ensures that anyone who is deployed will be proficient and ready when counted on the most.”
MacDill EOD technicians learned far more than IED detection and disposal training. They also rehearsed reaction-to-fire combat engagement drills, troop leading procedures and tactical combat care.
“The training here is based off of our intel section pulling EOD-specific occurrences from past missions to best recreate real situations our troops might encounter,” said Barr.
Overall, the exercise enabled a joint, total force team to train like they fight.
“My goal is to keep growing our training exercises to incorporate more aspects and combat units to mirror battlefield situations,” said Barr. “I think this is especially important because working and collaborating with other branches of service is the way now and into the future.”