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2nd CES accelerates change in operational training

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Airmen from the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron perform individual movement techniques and unidentified explosive ordnance identification during a 2nd CES training exercise at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, May 20, 2021. Training operational skills such as land navigation, weapons assembly and individual movement techniques, the 2nd CES intensified the readiness of its engineers, allowing the unit to better adapt to changes in the national security environment and compete in the dynamic future of warfighting. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

By Senior Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman, 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. —

In the wooded swamp of Barksdale’s east side, Airmen from the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron executed a field training exercise designed to simulate contingency operations in a deployed environment, May 20, 2021.

Training operational skills such as land navigation, weapons assembly and individual movement techniques, the 2nd CES intensified the readiness of its engineers, allowing the unit to better adapt to changes in the national security environment and compete in the dynamic future of warfighting.

“Over the last 20 years, our engineers have primarily deployed in operations against insurgencies and not near peer competitors,” said Lt. Col. Chris Carnduff, 2nd CES commander. “As we look toward the future of near peer competition, what this training is getting us back toward, is base recovery efforts after an attack in a non-permissive environment.”

In order to face the fight of the future, the 2nd CES took to the woods and devised a unit run training exercise, showcasing the wartime skills of Barksdale’s engineers.

“Every third Thursday of the month, we take a break from day-to-day work activities to train on contingency skills and develop our individual Airmen and NCOs to be efficient,” said Master Sgt. James A. Little, 2nd CES readiness and emergency management superintendent. “Today we’ve set aside one of our training days for some friendly competition on all the techniques we’ve been trained in.”

Broken into a five stationed event, the exercise covered: individual movement techniques, self-aid buddy care, land navigation, M4 rifle assembly and disassembly and finally, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear preparedness.

“Each of the different stations is a skill that our engineers are expected to perform and perform efficiently while deployed,” said Capt. John Sambo, 2nd CES readiness and emergency management flight commander. “That’s why each station showcases that proficiency and allows us to train to a higher standard.”

Training to that higher standard can make all of the difference when faced with a real world scenario.

“This training is very valuable to us,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Naughton, 2nd CES liquid fuels maintenance craftsman. “If we go downrange, really, it could be the difference between life or death.”

The training not only sharpens the wartime skills of the engineers but also accelerates change in the way the unit prepares for the future of warfighting.

“Some of the training we’ve seen before,” Carnduff said. “But the environment we’re trying to set our engineers up for is that high-end fight against a near peer competitor. As we move forward, we’re going to continue to make this training more robust in order to make it more realistic for what we may see in that high-end fight.”

While the future of warfare continually evolves, the 2nd CES continues to forge it’s engineers to rise to the occasion.

“We’re starting to train a little differently and this is a step in the road along that way,” Carnduff said. “So, the goal is for us to continue to develop this, make it better and continue to make it something that our Airmen not only benefit from but they enjoy.”

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