Convoy training and land navigation: 319th CES completes deployment exercise at Camp Grafton

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Anthony Nunez-Pellicer
  • 319th Reconnaissance Public

Airmen from the 319th Civil Engineer Squadron traveled to Camp Grafton at Devil’s Lake, North Dakota to practice tactical combat training exercises, May 16, 2024.

The Airmen trained for three days by utilizing virtual reality kits to practice land navigation and live-fire training, allowing them to hone their trigger discipline and navigational skillset.

Trainers placed civilians and hostile threat simulations at random locations on the Army National Guard post to increase Airmen’s situational awareness and test their skills in real time.

“The system itself was very responsive, with the VR goggles on, everything felt very lifelike,” said Staff Sgt. Tailore Dawson, 319th Civil Engineer Squadron water and fuel systems maintenance supervisor. “We went through the motions of what we would do if we were under attack and what our game plan would be if we for example, lost a vehicle.”

The purpose of running these simulations was to prepare Airmen for real-world scenarios, giving them the necessary experience be able to operate efficiently on the battlefield.

The exercise also involved simulated attacks while in convoy formation through the woodland area of Camp Grafton. The simulation prioritized an airman’s ability to analyze a situation and respond accordingly within a moment’s notice.

“It was pretty very high-pace and challenging,” said Dawson. “Training prepares you for a lot, but it’s never going to compare to the real thing and these real-world exercises really help emphasize just how much can go right or wrong in an actual combat encounter.”

After escaping from the hostile area, Airmen had to quickly navigate through the woods back to their home base, with the possibility of a continued threat constantly pursuing them the entire way back.

“We had to utilize landmarks, teamwork, and make sure we communicate everything to each other clearly, so no one gets lost or left behind,” said Dawson. “Overall, I think the exercise went very well and I was really proud of my squadron.”

Once they had successfully made it back to the command center, the 319th CES successfully completed their three-day training exercise. The various scenarios conducted while at Camp Grafton continues to further the mission priority at Grand Forks AFB by providing capable, combat-ready airmen and airpower to the global fight.