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50th CES conducts Prime BEEF training

Airmen from the 50th Civil Engineer Squadron listen to guidance prior to Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force training at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 20, 2020. Prime BEEF training, which occurs the third Thursday of each month, prepares engineer forces to execute operations down range, which can include hands-on training like land navigation, CPR and individual or team tactical movements. (Courtesy photo)

Airmen from the 50th Civil Engineer Squadron listen to guidance prior to Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force training at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 20, 2020. Prime BEEF training, which occurs the third Thursday of each month, prepares engineer forces to execute operations down range, which can include hands-on training like land navigation, CPR and individual or team tactical movements. (Courtesy photo)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Nearly 50 Airmen from the 50th Civil Engineer Squadron participated in Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force training at Schriever Air Force Base, Aug. 20.

Prime BEEF training, which occurs the third Thursday of each month, prepares civil engineer forces to execute operations down range, which can include hands-on training like land navigation, CPR and individual or team tactical movements.

The goal of Prime BEEF training is to create and maintain civil engineer forces capable of completing multiple objectives at any time. Air Force Instruction 10-210 lists those objectives as: Reacting to support Air and Space contingency and installation sustainment missions, supporting wartime mobility and mission requirements and supporting in-place requirements and supporting critical installation asset requirements.

“When we go down range, typically engineer forces are on the front line, or close to it, building places for people to bed down and maintain their presence,” said Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Voorhees, 50th CES superintendent.  “In order to do joint [operations] with the Army or Marines, Airmen on the front lines have to train in a similar fashion, so we’re prepared to operate effectively. We don’t want to go in green where they have to teach us how to do things while in a warzone.”

While the training can occur on or off Schriever AFB, Voorhees said the 50th CES’s recent training happened “everywhere on base, but mainly in the restricted area,” to prepare Airmen for a myriad of wartime situations.

Airmen learned how to operate heavy equipment, set up defensive fighting positions and create entry control points. Airmen also learned how to perform land navigation in the restricted area.

“Land navigation training teaches Airmen how to survive by using a compass to navigate from one point to another,” Voorhees said. “All of our training encompasses anything we could encounter in a warzone or a joint exercise or training with other branches.”

For three months, though, Prime BEEF exercises moved to computer based training after the coronavirus pandemic required the majority of the force to telework.

Second Lt. Johnathan Whitesell, 50th CES Operations Engineering chief, said CBTs included convoy training, proper ways to wear pieces of body armor and self-aid buddy care exercises.

Voorhees said the unit prefers to do in-person Prime BEEF training, but the various aspects of CBTs helped Airmen remain cognizant of their mission.   

“The last thing you want to do is send a young Airman fresh out of technical school, deploy them to an unknown location and they don’t have the necessary skills to survive or adapt to certain situations,” Voorhees said. “[COVID-19] affected us, but we did computer based training to ensure Airmen have the foundation of information to operate effectively down range.” 

Whitesell, who currently leads the 50th CES’s Prime BEEF training, said he coordinates the use of facilities with local installations such as Peterson Air Force Base, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Fort Carson, to ensure quality training.

“Peterson is a bigger base and is nearby,” Whitesell said. “The Air Force Academy also has a lot of land and resources they’re willing to let us use as long as we plan ahead. Fort Carson has more of the expeditionary equipment, like Humvees. I want to make sure this training is valuable to everyone in my squadron.”

Whitesell said civil engineers have to be prepared to deploy any time and perform their duty at their next station.  

“Air Force civil engineers are the only ones who also have to maintain base daily,” Whitesell said. “Most of our other branches, if you’re in CES, you don’t necessarily help maintain the base while you’re not deployed. We’re expected to maintain the base along with our civilian counter parts. Prime BEEF training provides the opportunity to stay up-to-date to complete the mission.”

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