HURLBURT FIELD, Fla --
Twenty Airmen from the 137th Special Operations Force Support Squadron conducted their annual training days at the 1st Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Florida, Aug. 6-16, 2017.
The event allowed Airmen to complete comprehensive training for force support programs and services they do not often have the opportunity to implement at their home unit. Airmen trained alongside active duty personnel on lodging, mortuary, fitness, contingency operations, training, readiness and other duties that are part of their squadron readiness requirements.
“This is the first time to complete our annual training at the 1 SOW,” said Maj. Paul Blankenship, 137 SOFSS command staff. “As leadership, we’ve got to prepare them to go deploy, which is knowing all aspects of FSS. They also could potentially be activated to back fill behind an active duty base who is deployed. This is training we can’t replicate back home.”
The squadron provides a full range of support programs for military, civilian, dependents, and retirees, including manpower and personnel, sustainment services, Airman and family services, force development, and community services.
“By definition, supporting the force covers so many things,” said Blankenship. “At home, it is several of our Airmen’s priority to prepare the meal during drill weekends. Their ability to get upgrade training in other areas is sometimes difficult because they are working to prepare, serve and clean up most of their workday.”
Senior Airmen Khadija Cintron is a 137 SOFSS services representative. Along with several other Airmen, this was her first annual training trip.
“It’s beneficial for us to see some processes and facilities that we don’t have at home - like the on-base housing and recreational facilities like the bowling alley,” said Cintron. “We may have to work at facilities like those in the future.”
Airmen gained experience in more than their technical job skills. They also learned it takes a lot of preparation, coordination and planning to complete training at a new location. Their overall training experience will stay with them thought their Air Force careers.
“Not only are the Airmen training on their jobs, they also get to see the logistics of what it takes to fly out of our unit, get an aircraft, fly to the locations and find transportation, navigate to lodging, and being responsible for other Airmen,” said Master Sgt. Vanessa Davis, 137 SOFSS first sergeant. “It’s an opportunity to thrust them into some leadership positions. They don’t get that experience back home.”
Airmen trained in small groups and rotated between facilities during their time at the 1 SOW. They were also on hand to work a reimplementation of personnel processing back into base from a recent deployment.
“The Airmen really only get a small glimpse of active duty life when they go through basic training and technical school,” said Capt. Henry Pope, 137 SOFSS command staff. “Injecting them into operations of the active duty Air Force and getting to see that day in and day out, while we are here, helps with them with their experience level. The volume and the different scenarios they see are all extremely helpful to the Airmen when we go to these trainings.”