WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
“The exercise is meant to act as a refresher course,” said Senior Airman Damien Ince, first squad team member with the 442d Security Forces Squadron. “We learn about chemical warfare, how to secure bases and assets, and manning forward operating bases, but it’s important to sharpen those skills.”
The 442d Fighter Wing conducted a base wide exercise, Ozark Thunder, Apr. 3, 2022, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The 442 SFS participated in the exercise offsite at Camp Clark, a National Guard facility in Nevada, Missouri, enabling the squadron to practice parts of their combat mission in an open environment.
“Our job as Security Forces is to provide support for the base, provide base security, and make sure assets such as personnel and equipment are secure,” said Ince.
To train for their mission, the squadron practiced various duties such as operating guard towers, conducting security sweeps, providing entry control and some others. The team also practiced chemical warfare drills and tactical combat casualty care.
“Through this training, the hope is that the Airmen get the confidence they need to do their job and trust their gear,” said Master Sgt. Sonny Velasquez, the first squad team leader.
Done annually, the exercise provides an opportunity to evaluate each unit’s ability to survive and operate in a combat environment with conventional and chemical/biological threats.
The exercise was evaluated by four members of the SFS and two additional members, one from the 442 FW and one from 10th Air Force, to help identify areas for improvement and allow for additional training if needed.
While at Camp Clark, the 442 SFS also worked on close quarter battle tactics outside of the exercise. The team focused on squad and fire team movements, communication during a fire fight, and extraction of friendly forces.
“Learning in the classroom is one thing, but actually doing it in the field and getting that familiarity is something that can’t be replaced,” said Velasquez.