176 Wing engineers and service personnel train in South

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Forty-eight engineers and services air guardsmen from the 176 and 168th Wing trained with 127 others from the Guard, Active Duty and Reserve at one of the Air Force's premier exercise sites in February at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

Air guardsmen trained in conditions mimicking a deployed contingency environment at the week-long, Silver Flag training course.

During the Deployment For Training, the Airmen attended classes on the operation and maintenance of critical equipment used in their career fields not available at home-station. Hands-on, practical experience accompanied the classes with scenarios such as repairing a crater-damaged runway, extinguishing aircraft and building fires, housing and feeding the troops, and trouble-shooting broken, critical equipment.

"At Silver Flag, we have the opportunity find out the most recent tactics and techniques learned from combat operations," said Lt. Col. Ed Soto, commander of the 176 Civil Engineer Squadron. "The total-force environment is also important because we don't normally work jointly back home."

In a combined effort, the group built and repaired infrastructure for a simulated air base wing. The Silver Flag cadre acted as the host-nation personnel and provided exercise-attack injects to challenge the Airmen's ability to react to hostile forces and continue the mission.

Several wing members were highlighted as top performers, including Tech. Sgt. Daniel Park, a services personnel from the 176 Force Support Flight, and Airman 1st Class Matthew Liverance, a firefighter from the 176 Civil Engineer Squadron. The services personnel accomplished their mission with less than half of their normal class size.

The 176 civil engineers and services guardsmen continued on to an Air National Guard regional training site at Stanley County Airport near New London, NC. The training there was tailored to the squadrons' specific needs. This training allowed the guardsmen to become more familiar with their equipment and allowed for cross-training opportunities within the engineers' career fields.

"Experience on recent deployments shows that forward-deployed engineers often work across the career fields," Soto said. "The ability to not only perfect their skills, but gain familiarity in other areas is invaluable."
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