• Published
  • By Mr. Rodney Furr
  • 439th Airlift Wing

During the July four-day unit training assembly Citizen Airmen from the 439th Maintenance Squadron competed in a unit-level field day at Dogpatch readiness training area.

The product of nearly 10 months of planning and coordinating, the event was anchored on strengthening morale and camaraderie, while paving a path to affirming warrior ethos and amplifying the unit’s Agile Combat Employment abilities.

A total of 14 eight-member teams comprised of a mix of Airmen from every section of the squadron entered the competition.

Leader planners Master Sgt. Ryan Oleksiw, Fabrication Flight craftsman and Technical Sgt. David Murphy, Propulsion Flight technician collaborated to produce a robust seven-station course that preceded three longer activities. The event concluded with a land navigation race to the finish. 

“There were quite a few curve balls thrown in right up to execution, said Maj. Monica Lombardo, 439 MXS commander. “MSgt Oleksiw and TSgt Murphy adapted quickly and pulled off an event that ensured high-level engagement and tackled the ACE/multi-capable airmen concepts and AFSC-related challenges.”

Tasks on the course ranged from moving and operating powered aerospace ground equipment, identifying errors in aircraft forms, patient litter carries, donning and doffing mission oriented protective posture gear, and post attack reconnaissance sweeps and skill-based relays.

One of the more popular stations was called “Kill House”, where members had to utilize quick thinking and reflex to react appropriately to friend-or-foe targets within a building set up for visual impairment via a smoke generator.

Oleksiw and Murphy incorporated multiple Patriot Wing units and agencies to mitigate risk as well as add realism to stations. 

The New England United Services Organization supplied water and sports drinks to offset the high temperatures and humidity. The 439th Security Forces Combat Arms Training and Maintenance ensure safety and accountability for the weapons break down station. Emergency Management and Civil Engineer squadron personnel provided explosive and smoke effects that added challenges to the land navigation portion. 

“People were already talking about [this] as something to do again next year,” said Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Baker, 439 MXS senior enlisted leader. “That told me that it was a success.”