Wing Airmen Complete National Guard Reaction Force Training
By Airman 1st Class Mary E. Thach, 155 ARW Public Affairs
/ Published June 28, 2011
Lincoln, Neb. -- The National Guard serves a dual mission. The Guard's primary duty is to follow orders from the president of the United States in the event of a national emergency. Their secondary duty is to answer the call of the governor in a state emergency such as a flood, blizzard, earthquake, hurricane or civil disturbance.
Airmen representing all units from the 155th Air Refueling Wing volunteered to receive riot control training from the Nebraska Army National Guard, during June's Unit Training Assembly June 4-5 at the 155th's Base in Lincoln, Neb.
The purpose of the riot control training was to instruct Airmen how to react when they receive the call to serve during a civil disturbance.
The Airmen learned how to use pressure point control tactics to restrain and subdue protestors using minimum force and practiced small tactical unit maneuvers using batons, shields, and pepper ball launchers to control and disburse hostile gatherings.
Master Sgt. David J. Wieting, noncommissioned officer in charge of the exercise from the Civil Engineering Squadron said, historically, riot control training was an Army National Guard exercise. However, within the last 10 years, the Army Guard's activity increased due to mobilizations and the Air National Guard was given more responsibility. All Airmen involved in the exercise were volunteers. Approximately 80% of the volunteers returned from previous years of National Guard Response Force training and were ready to advance to the next level.
"With the increased ANG activity due to deployments, close to 20% of our volunteers are first year trainees. This shows a great desire to serve selflessly amongst the young troops," said Wieting. "It is reassuring to have people who are willing to step up and put the mission above self."
Tech. Sgt. Christian D. Bradley, from the Civil Engineering Squadron said, traditionally, Army and Air Force Security Forces were designated to handle civil disturbances, however, the Adjutant General directed the 155th to provide more troops to the Nebraska's National Guard Response Force and the Air Guard responded well. The NGRF is designed to assist State and local law enforcement in controlling or diffusing potentially dangerous situations.
The training was given in a two-day course.
Saturday of the drill, the Airmen were provided classroom instruction and hands-on training. They then learned hand-to-hand less-than lethal defense tactics along with small tactical team maneuvers intended to create a full force structural line. The instructors demonstrated the required techniques and the Airmen practiced with partners throughout the day to ensure operational readiness.
Sunday, a mass exercise took place on the parade field. The simulated riot was between the NGRF trainees and volunteers from the University of Nebraska ROTC program, said Wieting. The exercise scenario was performed three times. With each exercise, the rioters increased their level of resistance forcing the NGRF team to elevate their level of response in an attempt to neutralize the situation with the least amount of force necessary.
Master Sgt. James A. Morbach, retention manager and a squad leader during the exercise said the Airmen were trained to neutralize a situation with the least amount of force necessary. The troops advanced toward the protestors in platoon line formation, following commands from squad leaders and the NCOIC. The formation moved in unison, protecting the Airman to their left and right, creating a nearly impenetrable force.
When protestors broke through the line, an extraction team apprehended the protestors and they were no longer able to participate in the scenario. In the event of an actual riot, protestors would be turned over to local law enforcement.
Morbach said the performance of the team was incredible. They combined first year trainees with more experienced Airmen, and the outcome surpassed the performance of last year.
"After every debriefing and after every piece of training we did during the weekend, I looked around and everybody was beat down, sweating and bruised," said Morbach. "But they were smiling."
Even the trainers were impressed with the 155th's dedication to the training and the mission it serves.
"The Air National Guard has volunteered and stepped up to support the mission," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Taylor, cadre for the exercise. "It went great. They are motivated and keep their eyes on the mission."