Bare base basics

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Brian Ford
  • 166th Force Support Squadron
Nine members of the Delaware Air National Guard's 166th Force Support Squadron attended Force Support Combat Training here Nov. 14-21, 2014. The mission was to acquire the skills needed to go from bare base operations to sustainment in just 30 days.

Training combined Airmen from the ANG, Air Force Reserve and active duty components to simulate conditions needed to plan and execute all aspects of initial bed down of forces.  

"The training exposed members of the 166th Force Support Squadron to bare base contingency operations focusing on lodging, feeding, and accounting of personnel, to include mortuary operations, in an austere environment," said Lt. Col. Jason Brugman, squadron commander. "It also tested the capacity and effectiveness of the home station readiness training conducted by the 166th Airlift Wing at the New Castle ANG Base, Delaware.

The week-long course objective was to simulate the first few days of a mock deployment to Libya, Africa. Preparation for this deployment included a day and a half of classroom instruction, construction of TEMPER (or Tent, Extendable, Modular, Personnel) and Small Shelter System tents, the Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen and Mortuary Affairs in a contingency environment. Included were all the skills needed to accomplish an undertaking of this size in a relatively short time.

"It is necessary to remain mission ready at all times," said Senior Master Sgt. Karen M. King, superintendent, 166th Sustainment Services Flight.  "This will ensure all aspects of training are utilized and members have hands on experience in preparation for deployments."

PERSCO, or Personnel Accountability for Contingency Operations, played a supporting role during the training. Prior to the 2009 merger of Services and Personnel, only Services members would attend this training.

A total of 29 students were divided into five groups: C2 (leadership), PERSCO, lodging, food, recreation, and search and recovery. Each team was given a series of tasks to complete in the midst of performing their daily duties which ranged from operating a non-appropriated funds retail store to assisting the food service workers in the Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources kitchen.

According to Brugman, for the number of new personnel in the unit and long-time personnel in new roles at the 166th FSS, the training highlighted areas for Airmen to continue to develop. 

"This was the first time in history that Delaware's PERSCO team had the chance to train for their deployed function in a simulated deployed environment," said Brugman. "This was particularly fitting due to the fact that several Airmen from the team will have a chance to do the mission in an actual deployed setting sometime in 2015."

"The PERSCO team works in conjunction with Services in order to take full accountability for all personnel who come and go through a base. In particular, PERSCO works side-by-side when reporting casualties up the chain of command," said Master Sgt. Michael DellaVella, the class acting first sergeant and PERSCO team leader.

"Communication between PERSCO and Services is vital to ensure all casualties are reported through the chain of command accurately and in a timely manner.  It was also important for PERSCO to have constant contact with lodging as the lodging team will account for available space to bed-down all personnel staying assigned to a particular base." 

Students were also given a hands-on lesson in search and recovery procedures. Staff Sgt. Wadeana Stewart lead the team comprised of members from each of the functional areas. Proper procedures for handling remains and personal effects were demonstrated.

This periodic training opportunity remains a keystone to the wartime readiness rating of the squadron and proved to be a task the team was more than ready to meet, said Brugman.