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Competition challenges Airmen's warfighting abilities

by Senior Airman Angelique Smythe
36th Wing Public Affairs

2/1/2007 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFNEWS) -- Twenty-one teams composed of 84 Andersen AFB Airmen competed Jan. 25 and 26 here in Warrior Day, a competition designed to simulate challenges Airmen may face in combat.

"Warrior Day is an annual competition on Andersen," said Senior Master Sgt. Ray Johnson who is assigned to the 36th Security Forces Squadron. "The objective is to enhance the 36th Wing's warfighting skills."

The two-day competition simulated teams being deployed down range. The teams were given a warning order to prepare for deployment and then issued an operations order to execute a combat patrol mission.

"The base was under attack and they needed to get the critical supplies down to two sectors -- Checkpoints 4 and 5," Sergeant Johnson said. "Checkpoint 4 was in need of critical medical resupply and Checkpoint 5 was in critical need of an ammunition resupply."

Along the way the teams traversed through six checkpoints to complete the mission.
At Checkpoint 1, they picked up supplies.

"When they got there, they only had a certain amount of time to think about what supplies they would need to complete the mission," Sergeant Johnson said.

At Checkpoint 2, the Airmen exercised leadership skills as they tried to figure out how to get the team across the water.

An Airman was stranded at Checkpoint 3 when his convoy broke down. The teams gathered up their supplies, put them in the back of the Humvee and pushed the humvee up the road.

"It was actually up a hill, and it was very tough," Sergeant Johnson said. "That tested their mental and physical strength."

The teams proceeded to Checkpoint 4, which was under mortar attack. They delivered the supplies and were given a dead, injured and missing count. They took two critically wounded patients, strapped them onto a litter, picked them up and transported them on foot to the medical evacuation point.

From there they went to Checkpoint 5 that was also under attack. They were given another DIM count -- four were dead. The Airmen took defensive fighting positions and engaged in live fire and take out the enemy.

After they were done, the teams ran 2.3 miles to Checkpoint 6, which was the extraction point and their final destination. Once there, headquarters asked for a situation report. They were given 25 questions to answer in three minutes. Some questions came from the Airman's Manual and others were about the mission.

At the end of the competition, awards were presented to winners of Warrior Day during a ceremony Jan. 26 at the Oceanview Conference Center.

The 36th Contingency Response Group's "Team Mobile" took first place with 500.5 points. The 554th RED HORSE Squadron's "Headless Horsemen" came in second with 492.5 points. And the 36th Logistics Readiness Squadron's team took third place with 486.5 points.

"Although this was a competition, it provided teamwork, unity and enhanced basic combat skills," Sergeant Johnson said. "We've got people deploying every single day down range, so it's important to keep training."

The guest speaker at the awards ceremony was Chief Master Sgt. Randall McCormick from the 36th CRG. He mentioned how important it is to train the total force regardless of their Air Force specialty code. Chief McCormick, a combat veteran, said the conditions of the competition were similar to combat.

"If you go out on a convoy, or do some engineering work outside the installation, you never know what you're going to encounter," he said. "You need all those different skills -- the leadership to make the decisions, training on the tasks, (self aid and buddy care) and the ability to report the information."

He added complete physical condition was the key.

"Physical conditioning is not just working out, running and meeting the PT standards," he said. It's wearing the ballistic protection, and carrying ammunition and water for an extended period of time while you're out there working. You have to be in shape, or you're going to be a liability."

He compared combat readiness training to the training firefighters receive.

"Like firefighters, you may not have a fire every day, but you need to have trained firefighters in case there is (a fire)," Chief McCormick said. "You don't just say, 'We haven't had a fire for a year, so let's do away with all the firefighters and their trucks.'"

Airman Todd Meghamez, a 36th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, arrived at Andersen AFB from technical training Dec. 13. He said the competition left him physically and mentally drained, but he'd never forget the experience.

"I try to keep in shape, but it was tiring," he said. "I've never had to run with a weapon and the extra weight. It was worse than any football training or physical training I've been through."

Although he was exhausted, he said the competition was an eye-opening experience that gave him insight on how to tailor future training.

"It helps me know what I have to train for," he said. "It also makes me feel so much more confident. I know the Airman's Manual and know what it means. If anything was to ever happen I would know what to do and I feel I would be confident doing it."

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