Shoot, move, communicate training enhances SFS skills

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Rachel Barton
  • 434th ARW staff
It’s kind of like training for football but the stakes are higher. On game day, lives may be on the line.

434th Security Forces Squadron Airmen at Grissom participated in a “Shoot, Move, Communicate” exercise in September to fulfill an annual training requirement, but it’s more than just checking a box on the training plan.

SMC is training that sharpens the situational awareness skills of Airmen. Teams must perform under the pressure of attacks from an oppositional force. As the Op-For fires simulation rounds, the teams advance toward their objective from one position of cover to the next, while communicating effectively and providing cover fire for their fellow Airmen.

“It’s the same principle here as football. If they don’t know where each other is going, it will all fall apart,” said Master Sgt. Michael Cochran, 434th Security Forces training manager. “But it’s even more important because you’re talking about live rounds.”

The ability of a team to work cohesively is critical when facing an adversary.

“When you’re moving as a team with two people bounding out in front you want the individuals in the rear to have muzzle discipline,” said Cochran. “You don’t want to create a friendly fire situation, so communication is of the utmost importance.”

It’s one thing to qualify on the weapons through classroom training and firing on the range. SMC scenarios gives Airmen a chance to apply those practical skills and figure out what works best.

“This is a good opportunity for them to identify any shortfalls on their equipment and also sharpen their skills with their weapons,” said Cochran. “But it’s not just weapons handling, it’s the teamwork. They have to use those vocal commands and have good communications in order to be successful.”

Tech Sgt. Manuel Paredes, 434th Security Forces combat arms training and maintenance specialist, acted as Op-For during the training.

“We try to get them out of their bad habits,” said Paredes. “If we see that they’re running and no one is providing cover we’ll fire the simulation rounds. They kind of give a sting so it wakes you up and reminds you to engage in the fight.”

The most emphasized issue in the training is the importance of good communication with team members.

“You have to know when they are engaging targets, what targets they are engaging, what positions they’re on: left, right or front,” said Paredes. “If anybody has any weapons malfunctions, which does happen, they have to communicate to their team ‘weapon down’ so that their teammates can provide cover fire. Or if they are empty and reloading, at any point someone is providing cover fire for them.”

Many of the 434th SFS reservists going through SMC training in September are preparing for an upcoming deployment.

“We have a short amount of time with them to accomplish this training,” said Cochran. “They haven’t done this training in a year but they shook that rust off right away and have retained their training and did very well today.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

Stay connected with the 434th ARW on Facebook and Twitter.