Goodfellow warriors on target

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- It's no secret in today's Air Force that each Airman must be ready to, and probably will at some point in their career, deploy overseas. 

With deployments becoming more routine and predictable thanks to the Aerospace Expeditionary Force rotations, Airmen must recieve the best training available and programs like the Global War On Terror Training course,offered at Goodfellow AFB,
our Airmen are highly skilled. 

Gone are the days of training scattered from one month to the next. GWOT brings them all together in one location. 

The program, which was once offered just prior to an Airman deploying, has recently been expanded to allow for more people to attend. 

"What we have done is broaden our audience," said Maj. Pat Baker, 17th Civil Engineer Squadron commander. 

"The training provides basic combat skills to all our Airmen, with a priority of seating given to those who are deploying in the next AEF cycle. Our goal is to provide a set of skills, and the confidence needed to use them, to all Goodfellow's Airmen assigned to an AEF." 

So what does GWOT cover? Well, pretty much everything an Airman needs to know in a deployed environment. 

The week-long course is intense, with days beginning at 5:30 a.m. for an hour of physical training. 

Each day is jam-packed with different modules of training. But the training begins before they even step into the classroom. According to Wayne Click, 17 CE Readiness Flight chief, students must complete several online courses, such as Use of Force, Law of Armed Conflict and Explosive Ordinance Reconnaissance, before starting training. 

"The course itself includes topics such as convoy operations, defensive fighting procedures, night operations, antiterrorism and force protection themes," he said. 

Feedback has been positive thus far, according to Mr. Click. "I think the people who have deployed to locations that put them in danger realize how important this training is. Once you are in a situation that allows you to use the training, then you start to understand why the training is so important," he said. 

One former student, a captain, explained to Mr. Click that the first time he deployed he had no training prior to departing and learning how to respond to enemy attacks without the training wasn't something he was prepared for. 

"Needless to say, he was more than happy to be in the class and wished the Air Force had offered it prior to his first deployment," Mr. Click added. 

The classes are offered quarterly, and although the format is consistent, each class will offer new ways to improve on the already existing training. 

"Any time we can make a change for the better, we will," Mr. Click said. 

"For example, in past classes it was noted that more emphasis needed to be put on weapons familiarization prior to deploying. With that feedback, security forces now spends more time providing weapons training. The result is that when people arrive in
country they are comfortable handling and operating the M-16 they have been issued." 

If Airmen haven't had the chance to experience the training provided by GWOT, their time will come, if they are assigned to an AEF cycle. And the training is invaluable, according to Mr. Click. 

"Anytime you are being taught skills that could possibly save your life, it suddenly becomes critical training," he said. 

"All one needs to do is find someone who has been in the fight and you will find someone who takes this type of training very seriously."