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The 178th Security Force's training at Fort Barfoot

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  • By Staff Sgt. Jillian Maynus

The 178th Security Forces airmen participated in a training course, never before attempted by members from the base, at the Virginia National Guard’s Fort Barfoot in May.

In previous years, the 1st Battalion, 183rd Infantry Regiment Regional Training Institute’s Training Course has only had Army participants. This year, a special opportunity arose for members of the Ohio Air National Guard’s 178th Wing Security Forces to join in.

“This was the first time they (the army facilitators) had a group of airmen go through the training,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Major, a patrolmen with the 178th Wing Security Forces, “I think that’s where we earned their baseline of respect. We were there to show them what we are made of.”

The 100-hour, weeklong training course consisted of tactical movements, individual and group activities, low crawl, high crawl, reacting to fire, reacting to being ambushed, and learning to ambush.

“We had to set up patrol bases and sleep on ground in the woods,” said Major, a civilian police officer who has served in the guard for 11 years, “The Army’s big thing was we are going to go where the enemy does not want to go—walking through deep water to get to places.”

This training is much more labor intensive than the entry level course the entry level Security Forces airmen at the base participate in.

“The training I went through was a lot like our tech school,” said Airman 1st class Kaleb Hollbrook, a new member to the Security Forces squadron at the 178th, who recently went through their annual indoctrination program, “He (Major) was getting into more base ground defense, while we worked a lot more on patrols and defensive fighting positions.”

Major emphasized that with the infantry training he participated in, they had never met their instructors, while the 178th’s training for new members was instructed by senior leadership in their own squadron.

“When we got there, that was the first time we met these guys,” said Major, speaking on the infantry course, “It was the first time I had been trained by someone who didn’t know me.”

Major said it was a complete shock to their systems. It helped focus their minds on the mission. Major believes that was the most beneficial part.

“It helped the more seasoned guys take the training more seriously.”

As for Hollbrook, he points out that his training conducted by the wing was beneficial in a different way.

Hollbrook said that bonding and learning from each member of the squadron was most beneficial, “It was more team building and more about learning everything we are going to be doing.”

Major and Hollbrook believe they have been able to implement what they’ve learned at their training programs and bring back skills to increase the overall readiness at the 178th.

“Its all about readiness,” said Major, “Having members experience some stress will help them a little more down the road.”

The 178th’s Annual Security Forces Indoctrination Program will continue to be an expectation for all new airmen to the squadron. As for the Security Forces Infantry Training course, Major hopes the Squadron will have the opportunity to participate again in the future.