This story is written by Master Sgt. Patrick Espeut
The 105th Airlift Wing’s Base Defense Squadron, Stewart Air National Guard Base, Newburgh, New York teamed up with the 106th Rescue Wing and an Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) from the U.S. Army National Guard’s 20th Special Forces Group to hone their expeditionary skills during a training exercise at Warren Grove Bombing Range in Ocean County, New Jersey May 5-7, 2023.
Over the course of three days, Airmen and Soldiers were thrust into scenarios designed to recreate some of the missions military members might be tasked with in a hostile deployed environment. Everything from conducting ground assaults on a forward operating base to repelling an enemy force from defensive fighting positions was included in the exercise. BDS members also got an opportunity to work alongside Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and request close-air support from HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters flown by the 106th RQW.
Throughout the training, debriefs were held between base Defenders and the special warfare operators to highlight tactics that were well executed and to identify areas that could use enhancement.
“We are trying to train in a slowed down tempo of deployments so we can work on certain skills rather than having to pick them back up when we are tasked to go out the door.” said Tech. Sgt. Nicholas O’Brien, a BDS member who acted as an advisor to the acting troop commander for the exercise.
“I am ensuring that adequate notes are taken for the appropriate after action report, so we can bring the notes back to the squadron and identify certain deficiencies within the teams. Our team performed very well, but there is always room for improvement.” said O’Brien.
In addition to the 28 BDS members, six support members from intel, vehicle maintenance and supply participated in the exercise. In a real-world deployment, Airmen from these career fields would be embedded with the base defense force to provide intelligence reports and repair vehicles as necessary.
This is the second time that the 105th has conducted a joint training with U.S. Army Green Berets from the 20th SFG. The budding partnership was made possible by 1st Lt. Al Romano, a 105th Defender who also works at the NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit with one of the Green Berets.
“The Air Force is looking for innovative ways to breed multi-capable Airmen. What better unit to look to then a battle tested ODA whom we can learn so much from.” said Romano. “These Special Forces units can greatly enhance our war fighting and ground base defense capabilities so that we are able to better prepare for near peer adversaries.”
This unique partnership aims to help both groups become a more lethal fighting force by learning from each other’s techniques and experiences.
“I hope we continue this relationship with the 20th and the 106th Rescue Wing.” said Master Sgt. Aljamien Gamble, the acting troop commander who coordinated the events of the exercise along with other members from BDS.
“This training is beneficial to facilitate the Wing’s vision which is ‘Always Ready’.” said Gamble. “That means working in an austere environment, alone and unafraid, and getting ourselves ready for anything that comes up in the future.”