Security forces four-wheel their way through training

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Don Nelson
  • 115th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
  Training on a Guard drill weekend incorporates many different things for the Airmen of the 115th Fighter Wing. For the members of the 115th Security Forces Squadron, that training includes an opportunity to "rip it up" in the dirt for a couple hours on the back of an all-terrain-vehicle at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center's A.T.V. training area.

Force protection is a major component of the mission of a security forces' Airman and A.T.V.'s are used as a tool to further their efforts according to Tech. Sgt. Max Fortin of the 115th SFS. Sergeant Fortin is one of the trainers certified by the A.T.V. Safety Institute to instruct both civilian and military people on how to operate a 450+ pound four wheeled machine.

Security forces members are required to know how to operate an A.T.V. in various environments. While 115th SFS Airmen do receive some minimal training at Truax Air National Guard Base in Madison, Wis., the terrain is not varied enough to give the rider a complete feel of what the machines are capable of.

"Training at Volk is just a better environment because of the terrain and the amount of space available for training," said Sergeant Fortin. "We can teach more uses of the A.T.V. and better ways to ride here."

The training course is designed to teach the most inexperienced rider the basics of operating an A.T.V. The course taught at Volk typically includes some of the newest security forces Airmen whose experience ranges from never having ridden an A.T.V. to experienced racers.

Fortin said the training is very important to everyone, even those who have ridden all their life because the security forces job may require the rider to operate the machine in a way that the rider has never experienced before. The only way to train to for those situations is to ensure they are comfortable with the A.T.V. he said.

"I teach them to be humble however, because an A.T.V. is capable of much more than I am able to train them to do," said Sergeant Fortin. "They must learn to operate them safely and respect the machines."

For first timers, the course can seem pretty daunting. Within the first 20 minutes of the class, the riders are taught all the basics of the A.T.V. and are spinning their wheels in the dirt. For fresh out of technical school Airman First Class Taho Mou, a 115th SFS member, this training was his first opportunity to ride an A.T.V.

"I am 5 foot 1 inch tall and weigh 140 pounds and this A.T.V. has a lot of power, "said Airman Mau. "I do ride motorcycles, but this is a little different."

Another new member to the 115th SFS family is Airman First Class Anthony Craft; however, he is not new to the world of A.T.V's. Airman craft has been on these types of machines since he was a little kid and races them as a civilian.

"Even though I have ridden A.T.V.'s most my life, this training is good because it applies directly to my job," said Airman Craft. "The military A.T.V.'s are utility machines that have much more power and are heavier than the sport A.T.V.'s I typically ride, so this class is very important for me."

Because the A.T.V.'s are such an essential part of the security forces career field, this training goes beyond just the basics of operation of the A.T.V. As part of their technical training for their career field, all the security forces Airmen learn various scenarios where having an A.T.V. will give them an advantage over an adversary.

"The A.T.V.'s are useful because we can bring more equipment to an operation than we could on foot," said Sergeant Fortin. "We can also go places with these that we can't go with trucks."

Whether it is the first-time rider or the experienced one, the expectation of the course is to make sure the riders are confident that they can use the machine to enhance their force protections mission. That said, it is hard to not have a little fun while doing it.

"It was awesome," said Airman First Class Angela Peterson, a first-time rider and 115th SFS member. "I really liked being able to go fast!"