TYR Tactical

Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

Cannon AFB’s Combat Training Element

Sunday, May 31st, 2020

Part I – Monster Garage


Editor’s Note: (This is the first part of a series documenting Cannon’s elite Combat Training Element team who challenge and push our Airmen to adapt and overcome with their cutting edge prototype technology and weaponry)

Recently, while sitting around the office looking for a story lead, I was looking around and my eyes found their way to our story idea white board, my wandering eyes landed on the words “Monster Garage,” and I wondered what the heck is a monster garage. Do they have monster trucks, my midwest-grown conscious asked myself gleefully. Surely I would have heard of something like that.

A major issue our operators face while running around simulating scenarios on our range is that all of the weapons are gas-powered therefore they have several tubes connecting from the weapons to a bulky bag on their back (how sneaky) that powers the rifles. The CTE guys wanted to change this and make them more mobile.

Luckily for them, they’ve got Lejay Colborn, a retired Navy explosive ordnance disposal technician, with a background in bombs and wiring. I just had to find him.

In a corner of base I hardly visit, behind a few hangars lies a quiet little building. The entrance was hidden by a fleet of civilian and military vehicles alike, but I couldn’t help but notice that one of the trucks was outfitted with a turret mount on the back. I thought surely that couldn’t be what I was seeing. I’d been to our training range several times but never had I seen that out there. After regaining my composure from the ensuing excitement of what lay beyond the hangar doors I found my way in.

I was greeted by a large empty room with a few quads, tools, and not much else at the time. Surely this isn’t it, I thought. Where are all the monster trucks!? I looked around a bit more and eventually remembered I was there to talk to someone and get a tour. I made my way to the first door I could find, knocked, and was greeted by wide smiles and friendly faces.

We stood and talked for a bit after we became acquainted but his eagerness to show off all of their toys, new and old alike, and what they had recently conjured up in the lab, kept us moving along rather swiftly.

This would be the first of several visits where I’d become acquainted with more of the guys from the shop, get my hands on a few pieces of equipment, and get an in-depth look at what they are engineering.

As we walked from room to room for the most part I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking at, except for a few quads, razors, welding tools, makeshift improvised explosive device concepts, some tools, and guns. A lot of guns.

Like a kid in a candy store, I was ecstatic. They had big guns, little guns, guns that go pew, guns that go bang, and some that go pow. From AK-47 assault rifles to light machine guns, a mounted machine gun or two, and even some World War II artillery cannons, they had it.

Through meticulous trial and error, Colborn has been able to route the power into the weapon itself, in places such as the magazine and stock, to increase the mobility and efficiency of our operators so they can get the most realistic training possible.

With the help of a 3D printer, currently Civil Engineering’s, with one of their own on the way, they’re able to build the schematics and print the pieces, big and small, they need to fit things together and increase the functionality of other items.

An awesome thing they’re working on now is getting turret mounts set up on the back of pick up trucks, a very real threat faced overseas. They do this by welding and bolting down custom metal gun stands to the back of the trucks. From here they’re using the 3D printed pieces to connect the turrets to their individual mounts. I don’t know about you, but building a turret mounted truck from scratch is not easy work, but sounds pretty rewarding and quite exciting.

Along with mounted turrets, CTE is also working on remote controlled artillery cannons. This allows them to have full control of the field while remaining in only a few locations, allowing for CTE to be playing their role as opposing forces or the occasional good guy, while simultaneously setting off the sounds and flares from turrets and cannons that further adds to the realism factor of shooting at troops and blowing up when targeted by our guships.

But they know more than screwing in a few bolts, these guys know the ins and outs of what they’re working on. They sandblast, clean, take apart, paint, piece back together and ultimately renew their equipment to perform at the top of the line. 

Do they know how to take apart and put back together a vehicle piece by piece? You betcha. Can they wire bombs to have multiple trigger points? Absolutely. Do they have the knowledge to precisely calculate and construct a drone that can drop grenades and carry packages? Of course they do! There is no limit to what they can and have created.

After checking out the guns, which took quite a chunk of my first visit, I was able to get a closer look at some of the more detailed work in the garage. Improvised explosive devices.

Improvised explosive devices are highly unpredictable, devastating, and unfortunately common tool used against troops overseas.

Good thing for the U.S., our monster garage has a ton of them. Simulated and non-exploding, of course.

Ranging from floor mat pressure-activated explosions or something as simple as opening a door, they’ve probably made it. With real IEDs, sometimes there’s really no telling what will or won’t set them off by normal everyday interaction, so the team at the Monster Garage has put together several designs and iterations of IEDs to continue to test our Airmen and expand their knowledge.

Again, these don’t explode, but when you’re at the range training and you swing open a door only to be greeted by a loud bang or blinding flash, you can almost guarantee you’d be down and out if that was a real life combat situation.

There’s a lot of raw ingenuity and first hand experience going into what goes down at the Monster Garage. They’ve hand-crafted countless designs for countless numbers of gadgets.

While we sit in our homes, go on about our days at work or spending time with our families, the enemy is working day and night to get any and every leg up on us, and this is why the Monster Garage is an absolute necessity for our armed forces. The men and women who work there are constantly pushing the envelope on new technology to allow us to get the upper hand in today’s modern warfare.

Part II – Operational Capabilities

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — Editor’s Note: (This is the second part of a series documenting Cannon’s elite Combat Training Element team who challenge and push our Airmen to adapt and overcome with their cutting edge prototype technology and weaponry)

By now, if you read the first installment, you should know what the Combat Training Element men and women can create, but you might not know what they can do. From an outside perspective, you’d think they generally play the bad guys for our good-guy teams, and though you wouldn’t be wrong, you’d be far from the mark.

The CTE folks do a lot more than meets the eye. To keep it brief, their role is to provide our tactical Airmen with the most realistic training possible, using realistic simulations, of course. Whether it be them playing the role of the opposing forces using adversarial tactics, dragging aircrew through a lake on the back of a boat to simulate a water landing with a parachute, or even playing the good guys, they do it all.

However, you must keep in mind that they are not training these Airmen, they are a tool used in their training to help them practice in a live environment to meet their commander’s standards, intent and expectations. Though you may not need a hammer to pound a nail, it’s more capable than the next piece of metal. CTE, with their collective knowledge, experience and prior service, is here to make the job done more efficient and sturdy, like the hammer does.

A major role CTE fulfills, as the hammer, is that of the opposing forces. They plan, they gear up, and they get mobile. By the end of an operation they can be almost unrecognizable. They’re dirty. Their skin and uniforms, now a combination of sweat, dirt and paint from simulation rounds, resemble that of a freestyle art canvas more than that of an enemy force.

Let me not forget to add that they’re not only doing this for our Airmen, but for special operations forces of other nations. We are one of the only nations with MQ-9 Reaper and the only with AC-130 Whiskey Gunship capabilities. CTE trains them to know how to use and be comfortable utilizing these aircraft in real-life combat situations.

But executing exercises of this magnitude are not done on the fly, it takes weeks of planning for only a few hours of “play time.”

It all begins with preplanning between CTE and the squadron who’s running the operation. From there they move into figuring out what equipment they’ll need, risk assessment, area of effect and overall concept of operations. Once all of this, and most certainly more, is completed, they’re able to move on to gearing up.

Though missions may follow the same concept from time to time, such as Rubik’s cube, no two scenarios will be exactly alike. The ground team switching out, a different plane doing reconnaissance, a new location being selected, or a different set of decisions being made all make a difference in how each and every scenario will play out. And those with CTE are constantly making adjustments in real-time with each and every scenario, decision made, and position called out.

The CTE’s ability to think on the fly added on to their collective knowledge allows them to keep things forever dynamic. They’re able to provide a forever changing environment that shapes how the Airmen think, act and react, while they themselves are doing the same, which only adds to the dynamics of the situation.

Another capability that showcases how well-rounded CTE is, is the augmentation they provide to the Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape community.

They’re able to double as the aggressor, playing targets in the water on boats for gunships, while simultaneously playing the recovery force where they’re certified in providing care to those being airlifted from the water if something were to go wrong during the exercise. Talk about some talented individuals. They also assist in nabbing those going through land navigation before handing them back over to SERE for the rest of their training.

There really is no limit to what they have done, can do, and will do. I could go on and on, like ?, about every little detail for every operation or duty they hold, but words alone can’t describe the tremendous expertise they have or the love they have for what they do. It’s shown in the men and women who go through training with CTE, and are out their using what they’ve learned to fight for our country.

Though CTE receives funding, it’s not the money that keeps them going, it’s their raw passion for what they do that keeps the innovation rolling and their performance at a level that none can match. They’re making a difference in our United States Air Force, and they know it.

Story by By Senior Airman Gage Daniel, 27th Special Operations Wing

10th SFG(A) Adapts In Order To Continue Training

Sunday, May 31st, 2020

10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) recently shared these photos.

Adaptation and the ability to thrive in ambiguity are hallmarks of the Green Beret mindset. Training cannot and will not stop. With logical precautions, social firebreaks between teams and any outsiders allows ODAs to continue training uninterrupted.

USAF Holds Basic Military Training at Second Location, Keesler AFB

Friday, May 29th, 2020

The US Air Force has extended Basic Military Training at a secondary location until the end of COVID-19 surge operations after a successful proof-of-concept trial run at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, which began April 7.

Beginning June 2, the next Keesler BMT class will be held there under Detachment 5 of the 37th Training Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

USAF BMT also supports the US Space Force with basic training for its new enlisted recruits in addition to those from the active USAF, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.

Until the end of the surge, 60 new recruits from across the total force will undertake six weeks of BMT. The shortened requirement, down from 8 1/2 weeks, is due to the physical layout of the BMT area, the small number of recruits and a surge schedule, which trains Airmen 10 hours per day, six days a week, versus the notmal eight hours per day.

“This capability was a deliberately-developed option to disperse the delivery of BMT during contingencies to provide surge capacity and introduce agility in the training pipeline construct,” said Maj Gen Andrea Tullos, 2nd Air Force commander. “This move also helps ensure the health and safety of our trainees and instructors by allowing proper safety controls, like physical distancing and deep cleaning.”

The location was chosen because Keesler AFB is home to the 81st Training Wing where so many technical training schools exist. Newly accessed AF trainees won’t be exposed to potential infection during travel from BMT to tech school. Consequently, most of those attending BMT at Keesler will be those who will remain at the base for further training.

Although Keesler AFB BMT is a contingency option and is not designed to be implemented longer than 180 days, it may be kept in place for longer periods, if required.

SureFire Field Notes Ep. 59 – Bill Blowers on Tracking Performance

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

SureFire Field Notes is a multi-segment informational video series with tips and techniques from subject matter experts of all backgrounds. In this episode, Bill Blowers of Tap-Rack Tactical discusses how he measures performance in order to track progress and improve.

Bill was a police officer in Washington State for over 25 years, retiring in February 2018 as a Sergeant. He also served in the United States Army from 1986 to 1992. He was assigned to SWAT in 1995 and absent a single year, stayed on SWAT for the remainder of his career. He served as a ballistic shield carrier, breacher, entry team member, team training coordinator and ended as a team leader. As a team leader, Bill has successfully planned or participated in over 1500 pre-planned and in progress SWAT callouts. He has over 5000 training hours and has personally trained SWAT officers in different locations around the USA.




SIG SAUER Academy Introduces “Task Force SIG,” a Team Building Experience

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

NEWINGTON, N.H., (May 20, 2020) – SIG SAUER Academy, the leading provider of the highest quality firearms instruction and tactical training in the world, is pleased to announce the addition of Task Force SIG, a unique team-building course, to the 2020 course schedule. This one-day intensive course is taught by current and former U.S. Army Special Forces Green Berets with decades of experience in high threat environments and who understand the complexities of working as a team. 

The exciting Task Force SIG curriculum was developed using the same principles taught in the Green Beret Special Forces Assessment and Selection and Qualification courses. The course will place students into teams to test their ability to perform in a high stress environment, while providing them with the tools, and problem-solving skills, to succeed in any situation. In conjunction with learning advanced problem-solving skills, students enrolled in Task Force SIG will learn how to safely operate a modern sporting rifle and will be challenged to complete physical obstacles on the grounds of the SIG SAUER Academy.

The first offering of Task Force SIG at the SIG SAUER Academy in Epping, New Hampshire is June 26, 2020. To register and review the course outline for Task Force SIG, find additional upcoming course dates, or review the comprehensive course offering for SIG SAUER Academy visit sigsaueracademy.com.

Students enrolled in this course should be prepared for physically demanding challenges and have the ability to carry up to 45 lbs. This class is also available as a private event. For additional information please contact the SIG SAUER Academy at 603-610-3400.

Kit Badger – Compact Carbine Deployment with Bill Rapier: Part – 1

Friday, May 8th, 2020

Ivan at Kit Badger spent some time with Bill Rapier, of AMTAC Shooting. Bill goes over some of the important parts of Compact Carbine Deployment from a vehicle.

Parachute Rigger School Jumpers Once Again Fly Skies Over Pickett

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

FORT PICKETT, Va. – The sky above this installation was once again filled with paratroopers dropping from aircraft as the Quartermaster School resumed airborne operations April 22.

The Virginia National Guard base – a 45-minute drive west of Fort Lee – is where the QMS Aerial Delivery and Field Services Department conducts airborne operations for parachute riggers.

Staff Sgt. Raymond Debusshere, an instructor, said his department last conducted jump training March 12. It has since undergone a thorough review and reassessment to determine how to best conduct such operations without putting paratroopers at risk for contracting COVID-19.

“We’ve added various safety precautions,” said the jumpmaster from a hangar skirting Pickett’s massive airfield. “We are practicing spacing, and every jumper out here has a face mask. In addition, we’re using hand sanitizer before and after every JMPI. We also added lifts (flights) to maintain spacing on the aircraft.”

JMPI, or Jumpmaster Personnel Inspections, is a safety process ensuring every paratrooper is prepared for the operation prior to boarding the aircraft. Jumpmasters meticulously check straps and equipment placement to ensure they’re secure and not likely to cause injury. With all the precautions taken, the operation took longer than usual, Debusshere admitted. “(It) added a lot to the process, but it was crucial and it worked out well.”

The QM School is one of the few Army entities outside of operational units that has resumed airborne operations. Not surprisingly, the task of securing aircraft through normal channels for the mission proved to be a challenge because the coronavirus pandemic has shifted air support functions across the Department of Defense.

“It was an undertaking calling different units and trying to get them to come in,” said ADFSD’s Kenneth Pygatt, airborne operations coordinator. “Some units have been willing, but their commands (are being highly selective in the approval of flights). It has been a task to bring it all together, but we got it done.”

There are no aircraft assets assigned to Fort Lee, thus, airborne operations must be coordinated through aviation units spanning the entire region. Active duty Marine aviators from Cherry Point, N.C., supported the April 22 drop. There are roughly 20 different aviation units that support the rigger course, Pygatt said.

Despite all that has taken place to resume training, parachute rigger students seemed oblivious to the changes. Many of them were in the first few weeks of the 92-Romeo course when the pandemic-necessitated measures such as social distancing became the “new normal.” It was apparent at the airfield they had become accustomed to it. They were focused on the day’s mission – jumping a parachute they packed themselves to demonstrate confidence in their abilities. It has always been a course graduation requirement. All of that seemed to overshadow even the pandemic precautions.

“I’m just excited to jump,” said a masked Pvt. Angelica Gonzalez while waiting for her lift. “It has been a while since I’ve been up there (all students complete the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Ga., before coming to Fort Lee), so it’s a refreshing moment for me.”

The Charlie Company, 262nd QM Battalion Soldier was one of 28 rigger students making their culmination jump. Numerous NCOs and officers also participated to keep their airborne-qualification status current.

More than 600 Parachute Rigger Course students graduate from ADFSD annually. The Fort Lee training is 14 weeks long.

By Terrance Bell

SureFire Field Notes Ep. 58 – Aaron Cowan Talks Handgun Manipulations with a Flashlight

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

Aaron began his career in the United States Army (11M) in 1999, serving 3 years active duty and an additional 4 in the National Guard (11M). During his time in the military he served as a rifleman, squad automatic rifleman and designated marksman; receiving training in small unit tactics, close quarters combat and ballistic and mechanical breaching. After leaving active duty, Aaron worked as a private security contractor both CONUS and OCONUS; conducting convoy security, close protection details, static security and relief security during natural disasters. Aaron joined the ranks of federal law enforcement in 2009 with the Department of Defense; serving as a patrol officer. Within a year, Aaron assumed the position of In-Service training officer. Aaron held the collateral duty of Special Reaction Team member in 2009 and was promoted to Special Reaction Team Leader in 2011. Aaron was responsible for Special Reaction Team training and qualifications as well as instruction and control of the SRT Sniper Section. Aaron is a member of the National Tactical Officers Association and the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors.