By Capt. Matt Lucht, 184th Public Affairs
When Airmen need to train on weapons, they get on the firing line, but when 184th Civil Engineers need training on the newest equipment, they travel to North Dakota. That is why the 184th CES loaded a KC-135 and flew to the 119th Regional Training Site, Fargo, North Dakota, May 1-4.
“Training that you get here is training that you don’t get at the wing,” said Lt. Col. Brock Sissel, 184th CES commander. “All the equipment is prepositioned at several regional training sites across the United States, and civil engineering squadrons come up and train on that equipment and they get the hands-on training that they need.”
The 119th RTS has the newest equipment and knowledgeable cadres for every career field of the engineering squadron. With more than 40 Airmen in level three and five upgrade training, leadership took the opportunity to get as much hands-on training as possible. This training enabled everyone to, at the very least, get familiar with equipment they may see on deployment.
“We are allowing them to skim the top,” said Chief Master Sgt. Eric Montgomery, 184th CES. “When they skim the top and we say that we are ready to deploy and we get the call from our governor or our president and says, ‘We have a mission for you,’ we show up and we aren’t seeing the equipment for the first time.”
For Staff Sgt. Grant Simpson, HVAC technician, who was promoted while in Fargo, it not only gave him time to work on the equipment, he also honed his leadership skills.
“Learning how to be a leader instead of a follower, even though being a leader is being a follower, switching from student to teacher is something different for me,” said Simpson.
Hands-on training and leadership development were the main purposes for the training, but leadership knew that getting out in the field and preparing for a mission would have other positive effects.
“It brings the shops closer together. We are all getting together more now and we are all talking and having fun,” said Airman 1st Class Benjamin Rivera, heavy equipment operator.
“When we come together as a group like this, we come together as a family,” said Montgomery. “We are all friends and we are family and we take care of each other, but you have to have those times that you can relax.”
The camaraderie can improve performance and allow them to tackle the missions they are tasked with.
“It is a great opportunity over a four-day training,” said Sissel. “Combine a couple of unit training assemblies and focus on that training and focus on the squadron and the things that they will need to do when they deploy.”