LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- The 19th Airlift Wing recently became the first wing to send a contingent of Airmen through the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center’s Multi-Capable Airmen Expeditionary Skills Training course at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.
The newly designed MCA course was created to provide the necessary initial qualification for worldwide expeditionary operations in contested and degraded operational environments for forces identified as MCA.
Running concurrently with the MCA course, the 19th AW Airmen also participated in a Contingency Response course as part of their three weeks’ worth of the training at the Expeditionary Center.
“The Air Force as a collective is moving in a new direction to prepare for future conflicts,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Sanders, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron structural craftsman. “It is imperative that every member of the team is able to accomplish any other given member’s tasks proficiently – it goes back to the saying ‘one team, one fight.’”
Sanders said that the Little Rock-based Airmen also partook in separate briefings where they engaged in discussions with the director of the EC on how to best implement and refine this training across the force.
Their inputs and recommendations have already led to revisions to the EC’s MCA training syllabus.
Focused on training Airmen on tasks outside of their traditional professions, or Air Force Specialty Codes, the course provided in-depth knowledge on a variety of skill-sets aimed at creating a lighter, leaner force.
Each day began with classroom instruction followed by hands-on implementation of the training received that day. During the course, Airmen received 96 hours of academic and field instruction with 31 of those hours including “new theory” educational courses.
The training included use of force, basic communication fundamentals, tactical movement fundamentals, tactical combat casualty care, MCA team operation, cargo preparation and many other training scenarios, enabling a reduced footprint while still tackling the same mission.
While some Airmen have gone their entire careers without a firm understanding of the role other Airmen on the installation bring to the mission, the MCA concept provides a unique perspective on where each piece of the puzzle fits.
“Down to the lowest ranking Airman, everyone has to understand what each career field’s responsibilities are and how they execute their duties so we can all accomplish the mission,” said Master Sgt. Richard Authement, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent.
In an effort to ‘train like we fight,’ the MCA capabilities will be further put to the test in the 19th Airlift Wing’s base-wide ROCKI 21-02 exercise, held in a simulated austere and off-station location.
“The full MCA concept requires us to leave our established location and setup a forward operating base for a couple weeks to operate out of,” Authement said. “In that scenario, we will be required to operate autonomously from the main hub.”
While the MCA concept is still in its infancy, this training lays the foundation for how the Mobility Air Forces is accelerating the change needed to fuel the Air Force of the future.
“We have to be more mobile in the future fight,” Sanders said. “The MCA concept is preparing us to be more agile in our missions. The less people required to accomplish a mission, the better we will be at moving about the warzone. If we are able to build a team that can train together for such a fight, they will be able to work better together and keep the mission moving forward regardless of the scenarios they encounter.”