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Team Dover opens one of first-of-its-kind tactics and leadership facility

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Team Dover held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Tactics and Leadership Nexus (TALN), one of the first-of-its-kind permanent integrated combat and leadership training facility on base, July 24, 2020. 

TALN hosts scenario-based training to enhance Airmen’s readiness and hone tactical and leadership skills in order to better face the challenges of tomorrow.

“The idea of TALN was born out of senior Department of Defense and Air Force leaders’ discussions about near-peer competition and their call to action for Airman across the globe to effectively adapt to our rapidly evolving national security environment,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jeremiah Grisham, 436th Mission Support Group superintendent.

In response, senior leaders from across the base helped establish an integrative training program that develops critical thinking and decision-making skills for Airmen across all career fields.

“TALN represents a training paradigm shift that we are currently witnessing throughout the Air Force and our Department of Defense,” said Col. Matthew Jones, 436th Airlift Wing commander. “Eagle Wing is leading the way in developing our Airmen into not only skilled tacticians and strategic leaders but also cross-functional Airmen.”

All active-duty Dover Air Force Base members will participate in the one-day, 10-hour-long training course. Future participants may include Total Force Airmen, local law enforcement officers and other joint partners.

The day includes a four-hour on-site classroom session covering the topics of self-aid and buddy care; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training; weapons familiarization and critical thinking.

“The biggest part of the TALN day is the leadership and critical thinking,” said Master Sgt. Kevin Veneman, TALN flight chief “They get you thinking outside the box and to think about what your next option is.”

The class then transitions to the forward operating base environment portion for a hands-on experience with a mask confidence training chamber and the leadership reaction course, a series of physical puzzles and tactical challenges.

As a culminating event, participants will engage in an opposing force exercise in a simulated deployed environment.

The TALN instructor cadre consist of seven hand-picked Team Dover members, each from different career fields to represent the full spectrum of combat readiness.

Multiple units from the base, to include active-duty and reservist, took part in constructing the brand-new $500,000 facility and program.

“It was a total synchronization between a lot of different units that don’t normally work together,” said Senior Master Sgt. Peter Leborgne, 436th Civil Engineer Squadron operations flight superintendent.

The 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron procured and placed the shipping containers for the opposing force exercise, as well as the mask confidence training chamber. Members from the 436th Maintenance Squadron built the obstacles for the facility, while the 436th CES arranged them and finalized their construction.

Volunteers from the 736th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron repaired two surveillance towers for the facility to use. Staff Sgt. Valentin Seillier and Senior Airman Jason Thompson repurposed the units to be used as mechanical towers for TALN, which are critical for the safety and operation of the facility. Seillier and Thompson renovated the towers for less than $1,000, saving the wing nearly $250,000, which would have been the cost to purchase new ones.

In addition to Seillier and Thompson, members and volunteers from across the base contributed over 6,000 hours to complete this project over the past few months.

“It was a lot of fun seeing it from the beginning to the end, from when it just was an empty parking lot,” said Staff Sgt. Eric Erford, 436th CES TALN structural site lead.

The first TALN course is scheduled to begin in late August.