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Robins Combat Readiness School | News

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Robins Combat Readiness School
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Members of Robins 5th Mob, or the 5th Combat Communications Group, are trained in technical fields, but at a moment's notice, they're expected to perform tactical roles.

The Combat Readiness School makes it possible.

13WMAZ went Behind the Lines to experience the techniques used to transform engineers into warriors, in just 11 days.

Recently, a training field on the backside of Robins, sounded and looked like a war zone.

Airmen Evan Lynn said, "The mortars are real. The bangs, everything's real."

The reactions, the adrenaline; the experience. The combat drill is as close to reality as possible.

About a dozen airmen enrolled in Robins Combat Readiness School charged into a simulated battle.

Tech Sgt. Till Schanz described the team's movement saying, "They're moving across the field guns in each direction. 360 degrees."

The good guys coming from base camp toward a "would-be" Afghan village are under attack by insurgents.

The enemy's gunfire drives two airmen into a makeshift hut.

Gunfire, produced by manufactured pellets and traveling 365 feet a second, pelts the hut and pings the role players.

Schanz said, "It's like paintball on steroids."

The guys coming from base camp to the trapped airmen's aid, pushed through embedded smoke bombs and mortar fire.

Schanz, who runs the combat school, calls it "stress inoculation" for combat novices.

He said, "I've seen people shake when they're picking up the weapon for the first time."

Schanz says airmen come to his school prepared to program communications networks. Dodging bullets is not what they're trained to do, when they arrive.

Lynn said, "When those flash bangs go off, they scare you."

The airman from Grand Rapids, Michigan didn't realize class, included three full days and nights in a tent.

He said, "At night, we're constantly getting attacked."

The cold, sleep deprivation and lack of running water make the experience life-like.

Schanz says he plans it that way. He said, "It is a very serious thing, when you're teaching people how to save their own life."

The probability is high for this group, that they'll take the skills from the practice field to the battle field. The Mob Constantly deploys.

They're always ready to mobilize within 72 hours of a request for a combat-com set-up.

As soon as these airman pass the class, they're eligible for the call. Lynn said, "I'm asking for it."

They see the possibilities of battle from an injured airman on the practice field, to the six insurgents "killed" in action.

But that's the point of the drill: Take engineer-types out of their element, so they feel more in it, when confronted with the real thing.

The Robins Combat Readiness School is the only one remaining the Air Force.

Schanz says more than 400 airmen come through it each year.

It's required before communications specialists can deploy to combat locations.


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