133rd Builds Leadership and Bonds

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mike Battien
  • Joint Forces HQ, Iowa ANG Public Affairs
One-hundred nine Fort Dodge-based Airmen of the 133rd Test Squadron (Iowa Air National Guard) traveled to Volk Field, Wisconsin to build stronger bonds, develop leadership in their younger members and perform their jobs under deployed conditions.

The 133rd TS is the smallest of the three Iowa-based Air National Guard units and specializes in testing and evaluating "Ground Theater Air Control Systems" (GTAC) including, computer software, avionics hardware, communication systems and other mission-critical equipment for both the Air Force and Air National Guard. Since 9-11, their operations tempo has kept the unit so busy that Squadron Commander, Lt Col Robin Hosch, felt it was time to get away and develop much needed relationships between the Airmen in a neutral environment. "We definitely tried to break up the sections. The section is the one place I know they know everybody and they get along. I want them to get to know other sections and understand their roles...and know 'How can I assist you and what can you do for me?" To build moral, Hosch developed a week-long plan of physical fitness training, morale building exercises and casual events meant to foster opportunities for unit growth.

The Combined Readiness Training Center at Volk Field provides a perfect location to accomplish these goals. The 133rd TS shares a "sister-relationship" with the 128th Air Control Squadron, based at Volk Field, so the settings are familiar and offer all the physical facilities needed to occupy the Airmen for a week.

The Squadron learned a new field-game dubbed "G-TAC Dodgeball" based on a new tactical Humvee training simulator that gives Airmen a chance to practice vehicle convoy maneuvers and weapons tactics. Disguised as a game of dodgeball with "bases" and zones, it is a prime method of developing leadership skills and tactics. Players are given assignments by team captains and must serve the roles assigned to help their team defeat the opposing force. In their first day of play, Squadron leaders were able to see group dynamics shift from chaotic, individual play into team-based participation.

Several other duty sections were able to increase knowledge of their career fields by completing missions in a new work area. Acting First Sergeant, Master Sergeant Clayton Mackie had high hopes for goals of the deployment. "I think this is an opportunity to get some of our younger troops out and experience what it's like to deploy to some other place than Fort Dodge."
When asked about the Unit's goals for the week of training and physical activities, Airman1st Class Nathan Ceja-Dare said, "It brings us out here with the people who have been doing the leadership thing for a while...it helps us learn-pick up some good stuff so when it's our turn to lead, we're ready for it."

At the end of the week, these Airmen should leave Wisconsin with a greater understanding of their own group dynamics and an ability to positively influence the capabilities of Team Iowa.

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