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Joint, total force enhances MacDill EOD training

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Sweeney, NCOIC of explosive ordnance disposal operations assigned to the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron, uses a rangefinder during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 2, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Sweeney, NCOIC of explosive ordnance disposal operations assigned to the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron, uses a rangefinder during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 2, 2018. The EOD flight learned improvised explosive device detection and disposal training, troop leading procedures, reaction-to-fire combat engagement drills, and tactical combat care from joint, total force experts in a simulated combat zone. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Sweeney, NCOIC of explosive ordnance disposal operations assigned to the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron, probes for a simulated improvised explosive device at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 2, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Sweeney, NCOIC of explosive ordnance disposal operations assigned to the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron, probes for a simulated improvised explosive device at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 2, 2018. Sweeney investigated the ground after using a mine detector that picked up a foreign metallic signature during a joint, total force training exercise preparing members for combat scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joe White, an explosive ordnance disposal team leader assigned to the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron, reacts to a simulated close ambush at MacDill Air
Force Base, Fla., July 2, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joe White, an explosive ordnance disposal team leader assigned to the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron, reacts to a simulated close ambush at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 2, 2018. The EOD team used skills learned from troop leading procedures and reaction-to-fire combat engagement drills to neutralize a threat as a part of a joint, total force training exercise that certified multiple career fields in preparation for deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen with 6th Civil Engineer Squadron ruck march five miles at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 2, 2018.

U.S. Air Force explosive ordnance disposal Airmen with the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron ruck march five miles at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 2, 2018. MacDill’s EOD technicians also trained in reaction-to-fire combat drills, tactical combat care, troop leading procedures and detection and disposal of improvised explosive devices to prepare for deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen with the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron transport a medical manikin at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 2, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen with the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron transport a medical manikin at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 2, 2018. For the first time, MacDill’s EOD team joined forces with the Joint Communication Support Element, 927th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, and 5th General Support Aviation Battalion from Clearwater, Fla., during its semiannual EOD training exercise to certify members for deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force and Army medics with Joint Communication Support Element at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. and 5-159th G-Company General Support Aviation Battalion from
Clearwater, Florida, hoist a medical manikin onto a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at MacDill AFB July 2, 2018.

U.S. Air Force and Army medics with Joint Communication Support Element at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. and 5th General Support Aviation Battalion from Clearwater, Florida, hoist a medical manikin onto a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at MacDill AFB July 2, 2018. The two units trained alongside the 927th Aeromedical Staging Squadron and the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight for the first joint, total force EOD training exercise to strengthen combat readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- For the first time, the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, 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 5-159th G-Company 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 5-159th G-Company 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.”
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