Tactical Response Force: trained for anything, prepared for everything

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

Editor's note: this is part two in a four-part series highlighting the Tactical Response Force at Malmstrom Air Force Base.

Airmen with the 341st Security Forces Group Tactical Response Force at Malmstrom Air Force Base have a very specific mission. They are trained to provide highly accurate, deadly and swift offensive and defensive capabilities at a moment's notice.

TRF members train on a continuous basis to hone their skills while working hand-in-hand with others to keep Malmstrom's assets and Airmen safe.  

At the beginning of a TRF Airman's career, he or she will be trained as an assaulter. To become an assaulter, intensive drills and hands-on instruction are practiced daily to build upon the skills that are previously learned as a security forces member.

Through hard work and dedication, Airmen who apply themselves physically and mentally learn to become leaders while being part of a team, which when called upon, provide Malmstrom with an indispensible asset. 

One training session, which took place March 25 in conjunction with Malmstrom's 40th Helicopter Squadron, served to teach a group of new TRF members a new skill set while sharpening the abilities of senior TRF Airmen.

As part of a two-week pre-assaulters course, 28 Team Malmstrom members took part in an exercise to practice entering and exiting a combat zone via Malmstrom's UH-1N Huey helicopters and simulated the recapturing of a missile launch facility at the Warrior Launch Facility trainer.

"The training we had today was to help get a group of [new TRF members] ready to be sent to our assaulters course down in Camp Guernsey, Wyo.," said Staff Sgt. Steven Trantham, 341st SFG TRF assaulter. "One of the big things we practice is helicopter operations because of how closely we work together on certain missions here.

"When our Airmen leave for Camp Guernsey they will begin their initial training to become a full-fledged assaulter," he continued. "While training at Gurernsey, they will have a week of firing to become proficient with their weapon. From there, they will run exercises and become certified as a team on a missile launch facility, weapons storage area, and convoy capture and recovery operations. The training we do is to help prepare everyone for the missions we support here at Malmstrom and also to be prepared for anything that may come up where our skills are best suited to get the job done correctly."

During the exercise, two UH-1N Huey helicopters inserted multiple TRF teams into a simulated hostile environment while a team of assaulters on the ground set up a defensive perimeter, known as a "wedge." After a team had been inserted, the helicopters would take off and land again for the team, who had set up the perimeter to practice entering the aerial vehicle.

Throughout the course of the day, more than 20 infiltrations and exfiltrations, or entering and exiting a combat zone, were practiced between the assaulter teams with the help of Malmstrom's helicopter aircrew.

The final part of the simulation was the recapturing of a missile launch facility where all of the assaulters' skills were put to the test. Infiltration techniques were combined with assaulter training to perform a successful recapture.

"As a helicopter squadron, some of the people we work with the most are the TRF members," said 1st Lt. Andrew Perroni, 40th HS weapons and tactics pilot. "We try to train with them a couple of times a month in order for members from both of our teams to stay proficient on the missions we have here at Malmstrom.

"The exercise we had March 25 was one of many things we train and prepare for," he said. "There are so many different things we are able to do here, such as providing a security presence for the missile field to convoy security and working with our TRF members to provide a rapid response force. These exercises also help us as aviators to stay current on all perishable skills, which are associated with our job."

Together, Malmstrom's TRF assaulters and helicopter aircrew are an essential tool in the base's arsenal; a tool which is capable of delivering precise, rapid engagement anywhere within the missile complex. With the help of intensive preparation and a solid plan of action, these Airmen are always ready at a moment's notice.

"TRF is a unique part of security forces," Trantham said." It's almost a one-of-a-kind assignment within the three missile bases. I think our mission here at Malmstrom is critical, especially when it comes to our helicopter operations and having that aerial platform. We all put in the time and effort to be prepared for anything that may happen and with the work that we've put into being prepared for this mission, I believe we are ready."