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162nd Wing Airmen refine warrior skills in the high country

Tech. Sgt. Christine Yebra and Staff Sgt. Cory Zehner put their self-aid and buddy care skills to the test while keeping an eye out for enemy gun fire during the care-under-fire exercise. More than 70 Airmen from the 162nd Wing ventured up to the cool pines of Bellemont, Ariz. during a training exercise Aug. 11-15 at Camp Navajo Collective Training Center. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts)

Tech. Sgt. Christine Yebra and Staff Sgt. Cory Zehner put their self-aid and buddy care skills to the test while keeping an eye out for enemy gun fire during the care-under-fire exercise. More than 70 Airmen from the 162nd Wing ventured up to the cool pines of Bellemont, Ariz. during a training exercise Aug. 11-15 at Camp Navajo Collective Training Center. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts)

Lt. Col. Gregory Bliss instructs 162nd Wing members on the proper use of a paintball gun prior to beginning the care-under-fire exercise during the final day of training at the Camp Navajo Collective Training Center Aug. 11-15. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts)

Lt. Col. Gregory Bliss instructs 162nd Wing members on the proper use of a paintball gun prior to beginning the care-under-fire exercise during the final day of training at the Camp Navajo Collective Training Center Aug. 11-15. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts)

BELLEMONT, Ariz. --

Enhancement of deployment and domestic response skills were the assignments given to 73 members of the 162nd Wing during an exercise Aug. 11-15 at Camp Navajo Collective Training Center.

 

"What would you do if you were deployed?" asked Lt. Col. Gregory Bliss, deputy commander of the 162nd Wing Mission Support Group and detachment commander for the exercise.

 

He began asking this question after attending a Combat Advisor Course in 2012 and returning from an Afghanistan deployment in 2013. 

 

"As long as you wear a uniform, you could be deployed anywhere," said Bliss.  His goal is to train Airmen what to do when that happens.

 

Using more than 14 vehicles including busses, trucks and sedans, Airmen from an array of professional backgrounds convoyed over six hours to the camp.

 

This was the second such training event in more than 20 years; the last was July 2011. 

 

Training included land navigation, CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives), self-aid and buddy care, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and squadron-specific training. 

 

Airmen faced long days and in addition to classes and challenging exercises, heavy rain, fog and muddy conditions.

 

"What I enjoyed the most was the excitement people had after accomplishing something challenging," said Bliss.

 

Airmen tested their skills on a series of challenging field exercises during the final full day of training.  The exercise - termed Warrior Lanes - rotated three groups through scenarios related to convoy reaction to fire, post attack reconnaissance and care-under-fire.

 

Care-under-fire is the most important element of SABC, said Bliss.  "It will save lives in the battlefield."

 

During the exercise, participants were given paintball guns and sent on a simulated base defense mission.  Along the way they encountered three wounded wingmen and were tasked to get them to the helicopter landing zone for extraction, all while taking fire from enemy troops.

 

"Care-under-fire was the first one my group did.  I liked that one, it (the training) put it in perspective with the use of paintball guns," said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Barnett exercise participant from the Communications Flight. 

 

Bliss will be using feedback from this year to plan next year's training.  His ideal training would be larger in scope, and would incorporate other reserve components.