944th MSG enhances wartime readiness

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Nestor Cruz
  • 944th Fighter Wing

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 944th Mission Support Group came together March 5, 2021 at Camp Navajo, Bellemont, Arizona, for a four-day training exercise.

The exercise was the first of its kind conducted by the 944th MSG, aimed at bringing together four very different squadrons with different missions in a simulated deployed environment.

“Many times the squadrons conducted training individually, but as we know when we go on deployment, we’re usually working with other squadrons with different specialties,” said Chief Master Sgt. Michelle Harvey, 944th MSG superintendent. “So the vision was to take the four squadrons under our group and have them work together as one team.”

The idea of multiple squadrons within a group working together may seem common, but it presents a unique challenge for this particular group.

“When you look at the 944th MSG, it’s unlike other groups with one mission,” Harvey explained. “MSG has different facets of career fields and figuring out how we intertwine them together has its challenges.”

There are four squadrons within the 944th MSG: the 944th Logistics Readiness Squadron, the 944th Civil Engineer Squadron, the 944th Force Support Squadron, and the 944th Security Forces Squadron.

“Putting together this exercise was a challenge learning each other’s functions, what their jobs are, and what they require in a deployed location,” said Master Sgt. Robert Norby, 944th SFS Non-Commissioned Officer-in-Charge of operations. “We’ve proven on every UTA weekend we can do our jobs in a built-up base, within our comfort zone. Our group commander’s intent was to push us further and give us the experience of operating in a deployed location where we don’t know when and where an attack could happen, but we would need to prepare for it and be able to adapt and overcome when the situation arises.”

During the four-day exercise, Airmen participated in classroom instruction and hands-on training including recovery missions, land navigation, weapons qualification, and base security operations.

“Our goal here is integrated training,” said Norby. “We’re working and training with each other to see how we operate independently, and evaluating how we operate as a group so we can have more experience with us as we go down range.”

The first joint-squadron exercise proved to be a very valuable learning experience for the entire group.

“We weren’t expecting this first exercise to be perfect but the goal for this exercise was to identify what the challenges were and how to improve on them,” Harvey said. “We’re going to take all this information back and create a playbook of what challenges we faced, what we can do better, and how we can do things so we won’t have those same challenges next time. I think we’ve come a long way but there’s always room for improvement.”

The 944th MSG, along with the rest of the 944th Fighter Wing, continuously conducts a variety of readiness training to prepare for any contingency.  The wing plans to hold a local exercise in late 2021 and the 944th MSG will use its lessons learned from this experience to revisit Camp Navajo in early 2022.