177th FW Quick Reaction Force: Ready When Called Upon
By Senior Airman Shane Karp, 177th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 19, 2015
ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.J. -- Members of the 177th Fighter Wing Quick Reaction Force took part in an on-base training exercise here May 16 to further familiarize the team with two essential QRF vehicles.
The exercise consisted of behind-the-wheel training with High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, more commonly known as a Humvee, as well as Light Medium Tactical Vehicles.
Training exercises like the one conducted on base are essential to the team's preparedness when called upon for a real-life scenario, said Lt. Col. Jesse Arnstein, the officer in charge of the 177th FW Quick Reaction Force.
"Although many airmen were licensed in the use of these vehicles, the re-orientation was valuable in re-freshing skills that have not been utilized for months or years," said Arnstein.
All QRF members are required to complete annual refresher training comprised of driver skills, basic vehi-cle maintenance, and radio communications.
Senior Master Sgt. Keith Thomas, a member of the QRF, is one of those who benefitted greatly from the refresher training. "It's been several years since I had to drive one of these Humvees, and familiarization is always para-mount," said Thomas.
The exercise guaranteed a controlled and relatively relaxed environment. Such a training environment is crucial for when members of the QRF are called upon to respond to real-world situations -- where the stress level, weather and timing will be far from ideal, Arnstein said.
"When we train, it's important that we instill the proper foundations early, because that's what is going to carry over when called upon in a real-life situation," said Senior Airman Joe Fasanella, a 177th FW security forces specialist, as well as a member of the QRF.
When emergencies hit, the QRF is the first among the National Guard on scene to assist civil authorities in response to catastrophes caused by hurricanes, blizzards, wild fires, blackouts, and civil unrest.
The sacrifices made by QRF members are certainly not undervalued by the officer in charge of leading the team.
"Plenty of airmen feel that their response to Hurricane Sandy or Irene was the most meaningful act in their career," said Arnstein. "As the QRF came to the aid of fellow New Jerseyans who had lost everything, a sense of calmness ensued when those citizens saw airmen and soldiers in uniform. I so admire the QRF members who are eager to be among the first in uniform to help in times of dire need."