219th RED HORSE Squadron participates in FTX

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Robin Jirovsky
  • 120th Fighter WIng Public Affairs Office
The Montana Air National Guard' s 219th RED HORSE Squadron deployed more than 100 members to Fort Harrison, Mont. to attend a field training exercise June 10.

While there, members gained contingency skills that focused on self-aid buddy care, troop movements, radio communication, bed down and vehicle training. During the training, members also focused on small unit leadership, team building, and comradery.

The Montana Army National Guard's 189th Aviation Battalion picked up the 219th RHS members and flew them to Fort Harrison in C-47 Chinook helicopters.
"I thought it was pretty spectacular," said Airman 1st Class Clancy Mickelson, 219th RHS member.

"It's good for the troops because they get to do something they're normally not able to do unless in country down range," said Tech. Sgt. Colton Sweeny, 219th RHS member.

The 219th RHS has a great working relationship with the Montana Army National Guard. They provide instructors for the field training exercise and operate the training facilities at Fort Harrison.

"Fort Harrison provides anything from live fire, to land navigation courses, to urban land navigation," Sweeny said. "This is really the only spot in Montana that offers so much."

Lt. Col. Rusty Vaira, 219th RHS Commander, said Fort Harrison offers remarkable courses that his squadron has utilized for training.

"We've inserted ourselves into their training curriculum for self-aid buddy care, combat life saver courses and combat training," he said.

Members of the 219th RHS spent seven days completing contingency training. The first two days included classroom training at MTANG provided by Malmstrom Air Force Base's 341st Security Forces Group. Members also spent three days in the field at Fort Harrison putting their classroom training into action followed.

Each member had additional goals to meet while training and many had a positive outlook on the training they received while at Fort Harrison. Tech. Sgt. Erik Vankirk, 210th RHS,  hoped to serve as a role model to the younger members of the squadron.

"I hope to have a pleasant attitude, to be a good example for those younger Airman as well as the others, be encouraging, uplifting, perform all the tasks asked of me with a certain level of proficiency, and look back and say I gave it my best," he said.

The deployed squadron members shared common challenges that included having different leadership, remembering a large amount of new information, and being intermingled with the entire squadron rather than being broken out by work sections.