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Comptrollers rehearse expeditionary skills

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ryan Conroy
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
Comptroller Airmen spent June 6 in a simulated joint-deployment environment here, to exercise an infrequently practiced expeditionary skillset.

The design was based on an exercise in the 1990s dubbed 'Top Dollar' and scaled down to a one-day simulation where Airmen exercise war-time skills including self-aid and buddy care training and weapon familiarization.

"The idea is to make sure our Airmen are getting real-life scenarios thrown at them so they're prepared to go downrange," said Maj. James Cunningham, 1st Special Operations Comptroller Squadron commander. "It's not always just filing travel vouchers and making sure people’s finances are in order. We have to be prepared for anything in a deployed environment."

Although the exercise was held here, the majority of Airmen participating were from the 96th CPTS at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Airmen were broken down into six teams, four from Eglin and two from Hurlburt Field.

"Unlike the operations squadrons who will deploy together as a large team, finance will deploy with a one-or two-man team and connect with other Airmen from other squadrons to complete the mission," said Cunningham. "So, this a great time for us to connect with our Eglin counterparts and see how our Airmen interact with their Airmen in each of the situations."

Airmen rotated through several scenarios including financial management skills, unexploded ordnance and post-attack reconnaissance sweeps, SABC, weapon breakdown and familiarization and donning mission oriented protective posture equipment.

While most Airmen are familiar with classroom training sessions, Chief Master Sgt. Armando Fajardo, 1st SOCPTS superintendent, believes this is a step taken to give a more realistic aspect to training.

"Finance Airmen don’t just sit behind their desk and count money or balance funding authority during a deployment," said Fajardo. "They actually go outside the wire sometimes and classroom training just isn’t enough, and by having different parts such as SABC and M9 pistol and M4 carbine familiarization, that gives them a different taste of what they could see and what they could experience at a deployed site."

While the scenarios were fictitious, measures were taken to keep training as realistic as possible. Several of the Airmen participating in the exercise are tasked to deploy in the near future and not these key procedures could have serious consequences.

"We have to be ready for anything such as shots fired -- we have to be ready to man our stations, pick up a weapon, protect our assets and resources at the wing level and if we come across a situation where an Airman is down or injured, we have to know how to respond and make sure we take care of them," said Cunningham.

Teams were evaluated differently from most exercises due to the competitive scoring and nature of the teams. Each scenario was scored on a weighted point system and each team wanted to outdo the others.

"I wholeheartedly feel that competitive training environments bring forth best efforts for all of our Airmen," said Senior Master Sgt. Julio Nimbley, 96th CPTS superintendent. "Training itself can get boring and monotonous at times so why not make it a little bit fun."

In the end, 'The Green Squad' one of the two Hurlburt teams, came out on top. Their prize, besides learned knowledge and skills, was a trophy and a two-day pass from work.

CPTS leadership from both bases expressed a desire to continue the training either semi-annually or annually and ignite a new rivalry in the name of deployment familiarity.