Monday, June 2, 2008

VMAQ-4 trains quick reaction forces of al-Asad

Cpl. Scott McAdam

AL-ASAD, Iraq (May 18, 2008) – More than 40 Marines and soldiers from various 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) units participated in a Quick Reaction Force Instructor Course hosted by Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 4 here May 11-17.

In case of an emergency, each flying squadron aboard Al Asad Air Base employs a quick reaction force to provide immediate security for their aircraft and personnel in an expedient manner.

Because each flying squadron aboard Al Asad Air Base has a quick reaction force, having instructors at each squadron passing on the skills and techniques taught at the course improves the security of each squadron and the air base as a whole, explained Lt. Col. Thomas A. Bruno, commanding officer, VMAQ-4.

Squadrons here requested quick reaction force instructors from VMAQ-4 to train their Marines. Instead of lending out instructors to multiple units, VMAQ-4 decided to host a week long instructor’s course, allowing other units the opportunity to acquire their own instructors, explained Staff Sgt. Barry M. Worley, chief instructor, VMAQ-4.

During the course, Marines and soldiers learned a myriad of techniques, from basic weapons handling and safety rules to room clearing, urban tactics, vehicle assaults and detainee handling.

“The Marines have different training than the Army,” said Army Spc. Gregory A. Strasser, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment. “We’re going to take that training and put it together with ours.”

According to Sgt. Matthew Clark, QRF instructor, VMAQ-4, a quick reaction forces’ role is to respond quickly to any incident that may occur within a squadron’s area of responsibility.

Quick reaction forces can be activated for a number of reasons; an intruder in a squadron, indirect fire or low visibility. When the QRF is activated, they are not only responsible for securing the headquarters element of the squadron, but also the hangars and planes, added Worley, a Lafayette, Ind., native.

Because the officers in flying squadrons spend most of their time in the air on missions, the quick reaction force falls on the shoulders of the enlisted Marines and soldiers explained Bruno a Philadelphia native.

“This (QRF) is run by staff noncommissioned officers and noncommissioned officers,” added Bruno. “This is gunnys, staff sergeants, sergeants and corporals running the show out there, not supervised by anybody but themselves.”

Worley foresees the students applying the skills learned at the course throughout their Marine Corps career.

The training received by the newly appointed instructors reinforces combat marksmanship and infantry tactics and can be a vital asset to any Marine outside the wire, added Worley.

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