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Photos and story by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, 177FW/PA

“Soldiering tasks” as part of their becoming certified to serve with the Air National Guard Quick Reaction Force.

The Jersey Devils spent the weekend learning and practicing the skills thousands of their fellow guardsmen used in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. They join a group of 100 Airmen – 50 each from the 177th and the 108th Air Refueling Wing – who received QRF training at Fort Dix in 2007.

Sgt. 1st Class Samuel Smart (right), 1-254th Infantry Training Battalion, lectures on tactics to QRF trainees.

Not only do these Airmen bring their “high-demand” Air Force Specialty Codes such as Civil Engineering, Security Police and other specialties to the street, they will also have the basic knowledge of traditional soldiering skills including the ability to conduct patrols and knowing how to clear and secure buildings.

“That weekend our mission was to support the training of the 177th’s newly formed QRF,” said Lt. Col. Brian D. Sharkey, Commander, 1-254th Infantry Training Battalion, based out of the National Guard Training Center at Sea Girt.

This training is seen as an evolution of the extensive support the Air Guard has always provided during a state of emergency. If Airmen are needed to put boots on the ground during a state emergency, they would go through a just-in-time training program at the Joint Training and Training Development Center at Fort Dix before hitting the street.

The 254th instructors – all Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans – spent several months planning the curriculum. Their expertise ensures that the QRF is ready to respond to any Military Support to Civilian Authorities event.

“Training was successfully conducted on six of the eight MSCA tasks resulting in the 177th’s QRF ready to perform its state mission,” said Sharkey.

Much of the training they received is what they would need in any type of state mission. Everyone remembers the pictures of Guardsmen conducting house-to-house searches in areas of New Orleans devastated when the levees broke.

If something of that magnitude happens here, these Airmen know that their team will work seamlessly with the Army Guard on those very same types of missions.

Airman 1st Class Stardust S. Folgosi, 177th Security Forces, watches the door as 177th Quick Reaction Force Airmen clear a building during QRF training.

Senior Airman Donald A. Cain III (right) and Staff Sgt. Kevin C. Allman Jr. (center), both 177th Security Forces Response Team members, maintain a watchful eye during QRF training.


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Volume 34 Number 3 Staff / Information
(c) 2008 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs