15-May-2023 Source: Beale Air Force Base
When operating around a helicopter, flyers must secure loose items, focus on the crew chief’s hand signals, and never approach from the rear. These are some of the many lessons Airmen from the 9th Civil Engineer Squadron learned after completing Beale Air Force Base’s first helicopter familiarization training in support of the new Air Force Force Generation (AFFORGEN) deployment model.
AFFORGEN is a deployment model designed to train Airmen capable of integrating themselves into joint environments and operate anywhere in the world. Joint environments and the diverse terrain in which they operate often require rotary wing aircraft, and deployed Airmen will be expected to demonstrate a basic level of proficiency around them.
“Within our flight, we have emergency managers, and under the new AFFORGEN model, we’re expected to be a demand force team, and the way we’re doing business is changing,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Brett Decker, 9th Civil Engineer Squadron readiness and emergency management flight chief. “What we’re trying to do is get our folks trained and familiarized with potential methods they could be seeing under this new model.”
To become more familiar around helicopters, Airmen from the 129th Rescue Squadron from Moffett Federal Airfield, Mountain View, California trained Airmen from the 9th Civil Engineer Squadron on basic operating procedures aboard a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter.
“Much of the training was safety-based, trying to make sure everyone getting on and off a UH-60 helicopter was safe and getting familiarized with the aircraft,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Izabel Poirier, 9th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management specialist.
The training flight also offered Beale Airmen a unique perspective of local environmental challenges like the Sutter-Buttes Mountain range which is similar to terrain found in a deployed location.
“The Sutter-Buttes are a nasty place with treacherous terrain and at some point, we could be tasked to do a mission out there,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Andrayez Sorm, explosive ordnance disposal specialist 9th Civil Engineer Squadron.
Multi-capable Airmen master their jobs in order to become familiar with tools and methods joint operations will require of them at home and abroad. The rotary wing safety course intends to drive Airmen in that direction.
“With the creativity around General Brown’s vision in accelerating change or lose, we need to be proactive with how we’re training our Airmen and how we’re going to set them up for success under changing and evolving threats,” said Decker.