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Combat skills training facility opens on historic Northwest Field

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Courtney Witt
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Sixty-three years has passed since Northwest Field first opened on Guam. On Jan. 20, Andersen celebrated the beginning of a new generation on Northwest Field with the opening of the Commando Warrior Technical Training Facility.

With the opening of the facility, the 736th Security Forces Squadron will be enabled to train Airmen in robust combat skills. The curriculum includes intense air base defense training all security forces members must complete before deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom.

"Our United States Air Force has transformed its security forces to another phase; it's not just inside the wire, it's outside the wire," said Brig. Gen. Philip Ruhlman, 36th Wing commander. "We have now transformed our Airmen as an element of air power to go beyond our airfields and work security outside that wire to protect what we hold most valuable and that's the ability to project and employ our air power."

During courses at Commando Warrior, a 35-person cadre will provide instruction for Airmen on advanced tactical weapons, day and night firing with the M-4, individual tactics and techniques, day and night vehicle familiarization and driver training, and land navigation, convoys, mounted/dismounted patrols, entry control point operations and a 48-72 hour field training exercise.

Prior to opening the facility, the course was spread across Andersen and Northwest Field. Classes were held in the education center, the Palm Tree Golf Course, and graduation ceremonies were in the base theater.

"Co-locating the different units will enable each unit to benefit from the synergies it creates, thus becoming the first training center of its kind in PACAF," said Lt. Col. Troy Roberts 736th Security Forces Squadron commander.

Col. Daniel Settergren, 36th Contingency Response Group commander, said the course moved to Andersen from Osan Air Base, Korea, in 2007. He said having the training campus located on U.S. soil will enable the U.S. to bring in military members of other nations to receive training as part of the Pacific Command's theater engagement plan.

"Additionally, the climate in Guam permits year-round training," he said. "Bottom line: we are well on our way to transforming Northwest Field into PACAF's World-Class Regional Training Center." 

The facility will hold ten classes per year supporting 1,500 students with over 150 days of operations each year to met PACAF's deployment requirements.

In remarks following the ceremony, Colonel Settergren praised Team Andersen for its support in constructing the $750,000 facility.

"The men and women of the 554th & 254th RED HORSE Squadrons did an outstanding job constructing this facility," Colonel Settergren said. "In addition to 554th RHS and 254th RHS, the 644th Combat Communications Squadron, 36th Communications Squadron, and 36th Civil Engineer Squadron were also instrumental in getting this facility ready for use."