AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates –
Airmen from the 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron received training from the Army 133rd Battalion on three different vehicles here.
Senior Airmen Bradley Dabalos, Aiden Penrod and Cody Rightnowar, all from the 380 ELRS ground transportation unit, were trained on how to drive the M1151A1 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle, M1083A1P2, Long Term Armor Strategy (LTAS) Five Ton Cargo Truck and the M1075 Palletized Load System. They also learned how to perform preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS) on the vehicles as well.
“The training helped us develop into more capable operators and drivers,” said Dabalos. “It also allowed us to have the experience to be qualified on these vehicles, just in case there’s ever a need for us to actually go out there and operate them in the future.”
During the training, the three Airmen were able to simulate driving conditions, as if they were in a combat environment.
According to Penrod, opportunities to learn from the Army don’t come along often, but when they do, the instructions are to train like it’s the real deal.
“You see the opportunities to train with the Army during a deployment because you’re closer to them in those locations then you might be at home station,” he said. “When we got into the vehicles, there wasn’t any time to get in and get used to it, it was get in and do what you have to do.”
In the future, the Airmen hope they can do more training with the Army before time runs out.
The Army wants to get us further training in more stress, real life scenarios,” said Rightnowar. “Hopefully, we can do that before we leave here…I would really like to do that.”
While training with the Army was useful for the Airmen involved, it’s also an opportunity to work with coalition partners and conduct these sessions in joint operations.
“Working with the Army is great…we learn a lot from them and they learn a lot from us,” said Tech. Sgt. Lisa Haywood, non-commissioned officer-in-charge of 380 ELRS ground transportation. “They tackle everything with a “one-team one-fight” mentality. We don’t always have such fluidity in the Air Force. I admire this along with their esprit de corps and camaraderie. I believe our mission success is indicative of the mutual respect we share serving side by side with one another.”
For the Army participants involved, similar thoughts were shared about their counterparts.
“Above the technical aspects of the training, I feel that the Airmen and Soldiers shared a mutual training opportunity to learn about each other’s roles in their branch of service,” said Army Staff Sgt. Angel Nieves, squad leader and master driver. “For most of the Soldiers it is their first time in a deployed environment and a chance to work with another service. Overall I feel the opportunity to have the training experience quickly brought forth cohesion between the Airmen and Soldiers. I know my Soldiers enjoyed the opportunity to work with the Air Force and learn a few things about their mission. The knowledge shared definitely helped in shaping the perspective of all involved.”