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178th Airmen enhance their skills at Alpena CRTC

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Amber Mullen
  • 178th Wing

ALPENA, Mich.— More than 200 members assigned to the 178th Wing, Ohio Air National Guard participated in a 5-day annual training event at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center August 11 to August 16 in Alpena, Michigan.
The Alpena Combat Readiness and Training Center provides support, facilities, instruction and airspace that allows Airmen to train and enhance their skill sets in order to meet mission requirements.
“Our trip to Alpena this year was the best trip to Alpena so far,” said Col. Kimberly Fitzgerald, the vice wing commander of the 178th Wing. “Our Airmen were able to get critical job training that improved our readiness for our national wartime mission.”
During the 5-day training period Airmen from units base-wide were able to participate in job specific training and train fellow Airmen. Firefighters assigned to the 178th Civil Engineering Squadron participated in swift water rescue training, practiced putting out aircraft fires and trained on rescuing victims from burning buildings by using a rope and pulley system.
Firefighters were able to enhance their swift water rescue skills by working in a current at a local dam to practice rescuing people in distress and pulling them to safety. They practiced skills such as rescue bag toss, rescue swimming, and boat operation in order to respond in a disaster situation, said Lt. Col. Michel Weitz, the commander of the 178th Civil Engineering Squadron.
Defenders assigned to the 178th Security Forces Squadron provided fellow Airmen with weapons qualification and urban operations training. This training taught Airmen across the Wing how to conduct warfare in an urban setting. Airmen learned how to properly handle weapons, enter buildings and clear rooms, and tactical movements.
“It was a great morale builder because Airmen were able to learn from each and connect with people from outside of their units,” said Fitzgerald.
Airmen in the 178th Logistic Readiness Squadron participated in pallet build up training where they learned how to stack and secure cargo on a pallet and transport the pallet using a forklift. Munitions systems specialists in LRS were able to practice building and wiring general purpose bombs as part of an assembly line.
While the members were not only able to train with their wingmen to enhance their abilities to work together as a team; they trained with civilian partners as well. Airmen assigned to the 178th Incident Awareness and Assessment team worked alongside pilots assigned to the Civil Air Patrol. Together, the IAA team and CAP pilots were able to provide aerial footage and imagery analysis of exercises being conducted on the ground. This footage and analysis was then used in conjunction with the teams on the ground to perform real-world scenarios.
“We’re able to provide situational awareness for incident commanders by giving an overhead look at the scene of what’s going on the ground,” said Staff Sgt. Johnny Petry, an Airman assigned to the 178th IAA team. “This is a great exercise for us to practice our skills.”
To complete the mission, members must stay current on the skills of their specialized craftsmanship. Being able to utilize Alpena CRTC allowed the members of the 178th Wing to enhance their mission readiness, work with civilian partners and overall become a stronger team.