By Senior Master Sgt. Paula Macomber, 152nd Airlift Wing
/ Published August 06, 2021
Airmen performing search and rescue of a simulated aircraft disaster area during the hands-on exercise portion of Home Station Readiness Training (HSRT) in Reno, Nev. Over 100 Airmen from around the country came to the HSRT hosted by the Nevada Air National Guard’s Force Support Squadron July 26-30, 2021.
RENO, Nev. - The Force Support Squadron hosted Home Station Readiness Training, a requirement by regulation standards, July 26-30 here. Over 100 Airmen from 19 states and 33 units around the Air National Guard attended.
This was not an easy task.
“We started looking at this idea around six months ago,” the Force Support Squadron’s Services Superintendent, Senior Master Sgt. David Hill said. “We asked ourselves these questions: What does the field need? What does the Air National Guard enterprise need? Since the requirement is that Home Station Readiness Training must be looked at every twenty-four months in order to stay current, we wanted to do more than the standard. It’s easy to just show the PowerPoint presentations and check the box. We wanted to do more.”
When Hill and his team decided to offer the training nation-wide, the response was overwhelming.
“When we put out the initial request [for participation], we were looking at hosting about 50 people—so that we could give them quality training. Within less than a week, we had over 250 responses from the field throughout the country that wanted to participate. We had to re-evaluate and scale the number down and capped it at 110. We ended up with members from as far away as Puerto Rico and Alaska to New York and California, from all over the country.”
Attendees had plenty of good things to say about their experience at the week-long event.
“Home Station Readiness has a big impact on our Airmen, especially when we’re getting ready for deployment going down range,” attendee Master Sgt. Robert Thorpe, Manpower Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Personnel assigned to the 176th Force Support Squadron stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska,. “Coming here allows me to take it back to my home unit and train my Airmen to be the best that they can be at this training so when they get tasked to go down range they’re prepared.”
This type of training hits the priorities on the head.
“Readiness is our number one priority,” 152nd Force Support Squadron’s Military Personnel Superintendent, Senior Master Sgt. Amy Baker said. “Home station readiness directly impacts our readiness and our reporting for the personnel section, so my inspiration was: How do we set the standard in order to meet that requirement? We wanted to put Nevada on the map and bring it to the next level. That was to provide these Airmen a hands-on experience and be able to apply real world exercises to their real world mission.”
The biggest take away was that hands-on experience is something they do not receive when going through PowerPoint presentations.
Hill continued, “Preparing Airmen to be able to go out and set up a bare base in any location in the world. The training helps get people in that mind set; giving them hands-on training so that they know what they need to do if they were to get that call.”
Generally, the only type of training like this that is offered is at a Silver Flag exercise—where they’re evaluating you on the actual training.
“I have been to similar training events at a Silver Flag Exercise in Germany, but I don’t think the scenarios were as relatable as this experience,” attendee Senior Airman Sarah Jones with the 159th Fighter Wing stationed in the state of Louisiana said. “My favorite part was search and recovery because it trains us to be prepared for the unexpected and the unfortunate situation that we might be forced to endure. Hopefully we don’t have to go through a real world situation but it may happen. This helped me prepare for that.”
This type of training helps with networking within the Force Support community.
“My favorite part about this week is been the camaraderie with everybody--getting to know and meet people from other units,” Thorpe continued, “Along with seeing old friends that I have had from other units in the past. The exercise portion has been a wonderful time and getting to be out here and actually do the hands-on learning is great—because you only learn so much by watching a computer screen. But actually getting to exercise and do it, kind of engrains into your brain.”
Overall a successful experience had by all.
“I really would like to thank the 152nd Airlift Wing for putting this on. This was an amazing opportunity—I know it took a lot of planning and coordinating and so forth. Also, thanks to the USO for providing the lunch today—all members involved in the planning did an amazing job with all of this and we couldn’t be here doing this without the awesome people in the 152nd Airlift Wing.”