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Andersen assumes a greater role in GWOT

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  • By Senior Master Sgt. Steven Bliss
"To train as you fight" has always been the bedrock to successful execution of military operations. A second component to successful military operations is a "can do" attitude or motivation of the people executing that mission. These two principles have resulted in a successful relocation. 

Andersen recently received the Pacific Air Forces' Regional Training Center from Osan Air Base, Korea, to Andersen AFB, Guam. 

The mission of the Regional Training Center is to enhance the combat readiness of PACAF forces through training and evaluation of Force Protection and Ground Combat Skills. A paraphrased version, is to prepare PACAF's Defenders to execute their wartime missions in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and other Aerospace Expeditionary Forces taskings. This mission is carried out on a daily basis by the 25 personnel of Commando Warrior. 

The Center here will focus their efforts on teaching PACAF Defenders Ground Combat Skill  courses. Approximately 1,500 students will attend these courses annually to meet PACAF's training and deployment requirements. The Ground Combat Skills courses are composed of two formats, a seven day Gulf State course and a 14 day OIF/OEF course. Although the current efforts of Commando Warrior are focused on the Gobal War on Terrorism in the U.S. Central Command, it also prepares PACAF Defenders for the GWOT in the U.S. Pacific Command as well.

The move from Osan to Andersen included shipping 45 tons of training equipment and establishing vehicle, finance and supply accounts. Additionally, the Commando Warrior cadre has put long hours into sharpening their instructor training skills. The "can do" motivation of the cadre has been the key to meeting Initial Operating Capability in March 2008, nearly 21 months earlier than PACAF's original IOC date of December 2009.

In March 2008 the students of Commando Warrior Class 08-01 accepted the challenging training and showed their ability to perform all of the Ground Combat Skills required of Security Forces Unit Type Codes. Members from the 254th Security Forces Squadron, 36th Security Forces Squadron, 36th Mobility Response Squadron, 736th Security Forces Squadron and 8th Security Forces Squadron formed a cohesive team that ensured all personnel improved their knowledge and skills during the Gulf State Course. The 36th Security Forces Squadron captured Commando Warrior's first "Top Squad" award.

Capt. Devin Sproston, Commando Warrior Officer In Charge led the team in preparation for the second GSC class June 10-16. 

"We have made several improvements to the course based on the student's feedback, said Captain Sproston. "My cadre will ensure the latest Lessons Learned is incorporated into the course so that our Defenders have the most current Tactics, Techniques and Procedures to defeat terrorism."

The receiving, housing, feeding and instructing of students has been a challenging task made possible only through the efforts of Team Andersen. Several agencies have provided outstanding support to meet the needs of Commando Warrior. A key organization supporting this effort has been the 254th Air National Guard. Seven Air National Guard personnel set aside their civilian careers to ensure the successful move of the RTC. Additionally, they have fulfilled vital roles such as controlling training equipment, instructing classes and modernizing courses to meet the needs of the 21st Century Defender. 

"Guard instructors like Tech. Sgt. Dacanay and Staff Sgt. Vibar have integrated with the active duty instructors to form one 'Total Force' team, said Captain Sproston. "Staff Sgt. Rabago from the 254th Civil Eengineer Squadron and Tech. Sgt. Haynes from the Air Force Reserves helped lead the way in establishing the logistics section at Andersen. This Total Force concept has been the key to the reestablishment of Commando Warrior on Guam."

According to Captain Sproston, combining the ANG's support with the skills of experienced instructors like Tech. Sgt. Degenhardt and Staff Sgt. Wong has created a winning team for the RTC. Commando Warrior has become a part of the 736th SFS and can capitalize on the experience of the Defenders tasked with the Air Base Opening mission. The synergy of the two missions has created a rapid improvement in both flights as ideas are examined with fresh perspectives and tested on missions in the PACOM AOR.

The entire move for CW has been based on the ability of the 36th RED HORSE Squadron to work miracles, said Capt. Sposton. This summer the RTC will receive their first Northwest Field dedicated facility with four classrooms capable of supporting 150 students for GSC classes. The amount of projects being done has challenged the 554th RHS team and they have proven their ability to accomplish the impossible. The reception of the first facility will allow CW to continue on their road to becoming the Top Regional Training Center in the Air Force.

The Key to Air Power is adherence to the Air Force Core Values. 

As Maj. Troy Roberts put it, "We can have the latest in technologies, the most modern facilities, and the most up-to-date tactics, techniques, and procedures, but without professional people, our mission is sure to fail. We will not falter and we will not fail." 

The newest team on Andersen, Commando Warrior is ready to prove their ability to perform as a proud member of the 36th Wing and Team Andersen. The support provided from Active Duty, Air National Guard and the local community has resulted in Defender's in the Pacific being ready to perform their mission in the Global War on Terrorism. As additional classes occur, motivation will ensure CW can provide the most current information to students.

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