LRAFB initiates WAR Center for tomorrow’s fight

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Maria Umanzor Guzman
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Team Little Rock recently stood up and completed its first iteration of classes as part of the Warrior Airman Readiness Center, which provides Airmen the opportunity to better train and prepare for tomorrow’s fight.

The United States has not faced a pacing challenge, such as China, in 30 years. This in mind, the primary objective of the WAR Center is to teach students the skills necessary to successfully address future threats through instruction and scenario-based evaluations. 

The 5-day course taught Airmen a wide variety of skills including base defense, tactical movement, counter unexploded explosive ordnance recognition, convoy operations, tactical combat casualty care, cargo preparation, and equipment extraction.

“Our intent is to provide students with 85% to 90% of practical instruction,” said Master Sgt. Alexander Blair, WAR Center superintendent. “You don’t just learn combat skills in a classroom, everything we do is putting Airmen in leadership roles for stressful combat situations to improve their effectiveness in wartime environments.”

Blair explained that the 44-hour course began with welcoming students with an intel brief specific to ground combat scenarios in the Pacific then progressed into practicing skills on weapon manipulation. It concluded with training on combat tactics and TCCC, where students are placed into complex medical scenarios with simulated mass casualties while under fire and expected to recognize, identify, and report UXOs.

Both officers and enlisted from various career fields were able to participate as students in the course to bolster TLR’s agile combat support capabilities — giving all a chance to step up and lead.

“As an officer in the class, there wasn’t much of a difference between us and the enlisted side,” said Capt. Jordan Sanders, 19th Force Support Squadron military personnel flight and WAR Center student. “We were all doing the same training and were given various leadership opportunities between both sides. No matter what rank you are, I would at least want to get to know the person next to me and them get to know me if we ever get into a real-life crisis in a deployed or wartime environment.”

Sanders said that he advises future officers that participate in the upcoming classes to value Airmen and to ensure that they form a team with a warrior mindset while also enjoying the opportunity to learn and have fun.

Meanwhile, on the enlisted side, Airmen had similar takeaways from the course as well.

“The course was very comprehensive and covered numerous fundamentals that, as Airmen, we need to brush up on and familiarize ourselves with,” said Airman 1st Class Carter Postier, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron materiel management technician and WAR Center student. “This course highlights the concept of multi-capable Airmen being a force multiplier by teaching Airmen skills outside of their designated fields.”

Postier encourages Airmen to participate in the course and to acknowledge and retain these skills because they can be useful not only in wartime environments but also on a daily basis.

“I’d rather be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war,” said Postier. “We need to be able to defend ourselves and our wingmen in order to take on whatever challenge we’re confronted with.”

Not only did the students experience the course, but the instructors were also able to develop their own perspective of the course.

“I love teaching this course, everybody out here is working together to get one primary job done and it’s to better understand exactly what they’re supposed to do in a wartime scenario,” said Tech. Sgt. Randall Hunt, WAR Center cadre. “I really like the aspect that is coming out and seeing all the working pieces coming together with the budget and manpower we have available.”

Hunt said that he can quickly see the progressive steps with the students as the week goes by, and how much they’ve learned from the beginning to the end of the course.

“This course is one of the best things this base has ever seen. It is going to take a lot of logistics and manpower to keep improving it, but I can see this being one of the most outstanding training courses that can be found in the region,” Hunt said.

Blair said that they would like to do future iterations of the course such as adding live fire and nighttime operations. For Airmen to be prepared for the next fight, they will need these skills.
According to Col. Bernard Smith, 19th Mission Support Group commander, having added no additional manpower, sustaining a course of this quality will be challenging, but Airmen recognize the future threat and are motivated to overcome. 

This course is a steppingstone to strengthen the total force while also looking for other available resources needed to train Airmen as efficiently and effectively as possible for future wars and conflicts.