Dyess engineers hone warrior skills
By 1st Lt. Forrest McLain, 7th Civil Engineer Squadron
/ Published February 20, 2013
FORT BLISS, Texas -- Nine Dyess Airmen from the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron joined 172 engineers from across the Air Force to complete the Army's Combat Skills Training course Feb. 4, 2013, at Fort Bliss, Texas.
The 22-day course focused on providing deployed engineers the ground combat skills necessary to operate and prevail in a wartime environment.
The course utilized Fort Bliss' 992,000 acre maneuver area, to teach field medical care, mounted land navigation, small unit tactics, convoy operations and base defense. Throughout the course, engineers were certified as Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected drivers, crew serve weapon gunners and combat life savers.
The curriculum was taught by Army personnel with years of first-hand combat experience. The engineers were presented the information in an academic situation where they learned the specified skill set. From there, they were plunged into a hands-on exercise to ensure the skill set was understood and the muscle memory was developed.
Another unique lesson was the Short-Range Marksmanship course. Through the SRM course, engineers practiced firing and reloading an M-4 and switching to their M-9 when needed, all while maneuvering on foot without breaking their focus on simulated enemy combatants only yards away.
"CST allowed Airmen to train in a controlled environment which allowed us to focus mentally and physically on our wartime skills in order to prepare us for any type of contingency," stated Lt. Col. Michael Harner, 7th CES commander.
Harner took command of the 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron, responsible for troop labor construction throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
Upon completion of CST, the Dyess engineers deployed to undisclosed locations imbedded within the 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group which operates over-the-horizon missions as Air Force's sole theater engineer force throughout Southwest Asia. The 1st ECEG works directly for the Air Force's U.S. Central Command commander providing engineer forces across the entire AOR.