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173rd Security Forces Squardron teams up with special forces

U.S. Air Force pararescuemen, 58th Rescue Squadron, perpares to land during a military freefall jump Jan. 11, 2012, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Pararescuemen are trained to provide emergency medical treatment in adverse terrain and conditions in combat or peacetime. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Hughes/Released)

U.S. Air Force pararescuemen, 58th Rescue Squadron, perpares to land during a military freefall jump Jan. 11, 2012, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Pararescuemen are trained to provide emergency medical treatment in adverse terrain and conditions in combat or peacetime. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Hughes/Released)

RILEY, Ore. -- The 173rd Security Forces Squadron joined forces with the 304th Rescue Squadron, from Portland Air National Guard base, in a week-long training exercise in Riley, Ore., starting Jan. 17.

Working with the highly professional pararescue unit was an excellent opportunity to see how those operators work. It was a real treat for the men and women of the 173rd SFS. The Kingsley Field team integrated very well with the 304th and matched the professionalism, work ethic, and tempo of the operators.

The week-long exercise provided a high operations tempo with very intense training scenarios, including: rescuing pilots from downed aircraft, rescuing contractors being held captive by local insurgents, recovering aerial drones, and assisting with mass-casualty accidents. The exercise missions started at approximately 1 p.m. and continued to about 4 a.m. the next morning. Kingsley's Security Forces members endured subzero weather to provide security for the pararescue team on each mission. Most of the missions were conducted in vehicles enroute to each objective, with each team having to dismount and continue on foot to set up a secure perimeter around the areas the pararescue team was operating in.

We had our skills tested each and every mission. However, morale remained at a high level for each member, even as fatigue was a prominent factor.

The joint forces training gave the 173rd troops valuable training and helped build more than a little unit cohesion, perhaps a direct result of shared suffering. Those of us in the 173rd SFS hope to be invited back in the future for this annual training exercise.