Defenders graduate new instructor course

Defenders from across the country graduated the Security Forces Weapons and Tactics Instructors Course Sept. 3 at Camp Guernsey.

The key goal of the course is to take methodologies and tactics from different missions and utilize them across every aspect of the career field. Defenders from every major command were present at the training.

The Security Forces Weapons and Tactics Instructors Course is the first iteration to be accepted for military-wide use. Prior to the Weapons and Tactics Instructor training, two separate courses were employed, focusing on tactics and critical thinking.

“We needed a course that merged these two prior courses together,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Alcala, Air Force Global Strike Command weapons and tactics manager. “This final course was established and validated in an effort to integrate a tactics network across the security forces community as a whole.”

Throughout seven weeks, students were trained in distance firing, threat discrimination, firing around targets, nuclear security operations, mounted and dismounted operations, area security and law and order operations.

“As students, we went through everything that a normal defender would face on a daily basis but then we stepped it up a notch through a variety of courses that reinforced the foundation of our skills” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Hill, 736th Security Forces Squadron Pacific Air Forces Regional Training Center instructor. “This training allows us to be a subject matter expert on a larger portion of our jobs as defenders.”

This method of training allowed students to go back to their home stations and become unit integrators with their mission partners, according to Alcala.

Feedback and in-depth debriefs were key in the process of constant improvement throughout the course duration. Course cadre constantly pushed students to evaluate themselves, reassess and reattack.

“Humility is a huge component of our debriefs,” emphasized Tech. Sgt. Cory Irvin, 27th Security Forces Squadron Deployed Aircraft Ground Response Element program manager. “No matter how well an exercise was executed, it is our job as cadre to continuously search for something to improve upon.”

Irvin also stressed that course cadre were adamant in encouraging students to think outside of the box.

“We need our students to be open-minded and to move away from the rigidness typically found within the career field,” Irvin said. “We are moving past the old-school line of thinking of ‘this is how we have always done it’.”

The course ended with a hostage rescue exercise to cap off a continuation of scenarios students faced throughout the training. The course strives to educate, empower its students and promote camaraderie.

“It’s all about the person to your right and left,” Alcala stated. “We are trying to create a team of teams, so when students leave, they understand that we all have a shared purpose.”

Defenders clearing town

Students in the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course advance through simulated enemy territory during a hostage rescue exercise in Camp Guernsey, Wyo., Sept. 1, 2020. Throughout the course, defenders learned skills such as reacting to situations while under stress and appropriately operating their weapons systems while fatigued. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Reed)

Team of four defenders

A fire team clears a training area during a hostage rescue exercise in Camp Guernsey, Wyo., Sept. 1, 2020. The Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course covered standard law and order procedures that every defender faces throughout their career. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Reed)

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