CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. -- A new battle cry has been heard around the ranges and barracks here.
Instead of the all too familiar ‘HOOAH,’ a strange and new guttural chant is catching on -- ‘AIRRP!’ The men and women who use the new phrase, which means ‘air power,’ are taking part in a joint effort which teaches Army skills to Airmen.
Sleeping in the dirt, sending thousands of rounds downrange, throwing live grenades and running convoy operations are nothing special here to a Soldier preparing to deploy. However, for a group of around 80 Air Force logisticians, the opportunity to get a taste of Army training for close to five weeks continues to be a unique and potentially lifesaving experience.
Airmen from all over the country arrived here in October on short notice, to gear up for their upcoming mission in Afghanistan. These Airmen will be mentoring their counterparts in the Afghan National Army in teaching them how to support their own logistics system.
The logistics mission, similar to the Army’s combat service support mission, is designed to provide guidance to the Afghan army to assist them in a broad range of logistics from providing airplane fuel and maintaining vehicles to supplying troops with beans and bullets.
Stepping up to the challenge was Master Sgt. Antonio Thomas, who embraced the training.
“Over there you could get into a situation where you need to survive, and it’s better to have more training than not enough. We may need it to survive,” he said.
Sergeant Thomas, who has been in the Air Force for 20 years, describes the training as being more hands on and more intense than regular Air Force training.
“It’s a new twist because some things that we’re used to having, we can’t have all the time … like heat and nice barracks,” Sergeant Thomas said.
“It’s a little more basic,” Sergeant Wilson said. “I’m glad to be in the Air Force.”
Throughout their training, the Air Force personnel have done exceptionally well.
“They’re meeting all of the Army standards and are very receptive to the training,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class William Jones, part of the 2335th Infantry Regiment which oversees the training here. The Airmen are expected to complete close to 80 events ranging from improvised explosive device training to weapons training.
“It’s amazing how easily they are adjusting to the Army way of life,” he said.
During a recent M-16 rifle qualification, a group of Air Force logisticians were 16 out of 16 for a 100 percent success rate.
“We’ve never seen that before, and it was the Air Force doing it,” he said. “Overall they will be more prepared in land navigation and weapons now because a lot of them have never been through it before.”
Though the Airmen didn’t sign up to do combat operations, the training they receive here could save lives.