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Force Support Sq. goes on deployment for training

104th Fighter Wing, Westfield, Mass. -- On March 15-18, members of the 104th Fighter Wing's Force Support Squadron participated in a Deployment for Training (DFT) at Joint Base Cape Cod. NCOs and Airmen alike engaged squadron members in classroom instruction as well as hands-on learning activities in order to complete Home Station Readiness Training.

According to Maj. Matthew Mutti, FSS Commander, the DFT was designed to take the FSS team off base, and allow the squadron to change their focus from taking care of their customers to completing training. "During a UTA weekend, our team serves 450 meals per day and serves upwards of 100 customers in the MPF; which doesn't allow much time for completing their annual Readiness training requirements," said Mutti.

Home Station Readiness Training consists of self-study guides, classroom education, hands-on equipment training, duty specific training based on UTC assignments as well as expeditionary training like Self-Aid Buddy Care. Effective HSRT is critical to provide deployed commanders with fully qualified team members capable of accomplishing the wide variety of Services' deployed responsibilities. Force Sustainment team members must be trained and ready for deployment to austere, bare base locations with limited or no facilities and transition to sustained operations.

The FSS squadron has recurring requirements to train which align with the squadron's AEF cycles. "The training is either accomplished through exercises like Silver Flag, the Force Support Combat training, or a DFT like this. We hope to provide a variety of training opportunities to both make the training more enjoyable but also ensure the team has the ability to succeed during a deployment mission," said Mutti.

Tech. Sgt. Quincy Cope, one of the project officers for the DFT said the location was chosen based on finding a facility that would support the level of training required to be completed as well as being fiscally responsible and traveling a reasonable distance. "In addition, we chose Otis as our HSRT site so that we can focus on training and get away from day to day distractions," said Cope.

"As well as completing the required Home Station Readiness Training, our objective was to create a tighter bond between members of the squadron," said Cope.
A highlight of the DFT was the initial icebreaker event held at the Quarterdeck Restaurant, in Falmouth, Mass. Members from the squadron got together after the training day had ended and enjoyed fine dining while playing an icebreaker game organized by Master Sgt. Darci Furr to encourage members from the squadron to get to know each other. "According to the surveys collected, most airmen said the icebreaker event was their favorite. Due to the venue and the thoughtfulness of Master Sgt. Furr's game, everyone enjoyed the evening," said Cope.

Overall, the DFT was yet another "mission accomplished" for the 104th Fighter Wing. The squadron was able to complete required training and was able to establish and develop positive relationships throughout the squadron. "The value of the Squadron being together for training cannot be overstated, it both increased our readiness competences but also gave us an opportunity to bond as a Squadron," said Mutti.