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DIRT Helps Train Multi-Capable Airmen To Deploy
by U.S. Air Force Donovan Potter, Hill AFB
May 6, 2023

Hill’s 729th Air Control Squadron offers Deployment Initial Readiness Training, also known as DIRT school, designed to provide students with basic-level knowledge in a multitude of deployment and expeditionary skillsets.

The 10-day course is conducted on Hill AFB, primarily in the Base Operations Readiness Training Area, and targets newer Airman who have never deployed.

The course curriculum includes tent building, construction, Defensive Fighting Position, radio etiquette and operation, convoy operations, Chemical Biological Radioactive Nuclear Explosives, IED familiarization, weapons familiarization, Tactical Combat Casualty Care, land navigation and squad movements.

Senior Airman Brandon Parshall, 729th Air Control Squadron, with fellow airmen in the background set up a defensive perimeter during a Deployment Initial Readiness Training course at Hill Air Force Base, Utah on April 14, 2023. The DIRT course focuses on convoy operations, field living, small arms skills, defensive site preparation, radio communication, and self-aid buddy care under fire, and other deployment readiness skills. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs, Public Affairs Hill AFB.)
Senior Airman Brandon Parshall, 729th Air Control Squadron, with fellow airmen in the background set up a defensive perimeter during a Deployment Initial Readiness Training course at Hill Air Force Base, Utah on April 14, 2023. The DIRT course focuses on convoy operations, field living, small arms skills, defensive site preparation, radio communication, and self-aid buddy care under fire, and other deployment readiness skills. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs, Public Affairs Hill AFB.)

Master Sgt. Tyler Miller, 729th ACS Mission Support Readiness Flight chief said this kind of training is vitally important at this point in time.

“With all the uncertainty in the world today, any of us may be called to deploy,” he said. “Having at least baseline expeditionary training has the potential to make a great deal of difference in how successful members both perform and accomplish the mission objectives of these deployments.”

DIRT school recently doubled in length from a 5-day course to 10, so more time could be spent in each area and also so land navigation and convoy operations could be added.

“With the 5-day course, we were unable to give the time needed to properly instruct many of the concepts we were teaching,” Miller said. “By adding an extra 5 days we can go more in-depth on these subjects without rushing to maintain the compressed schedule.”

Also, in an effort to provide the best education possible, other base organizations have been tapped to lend expertise to the training.

Emergency Management teaches CBRN, Explosive Ordnance technicians support IED familiarization and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists instruct the land nav course.

Airman 1st Class Oliver Walton-Williams (left) with 729th Air Control Squadron keeps lookout during a Deployment Initial Readiness Training course at Hill Air Force Base, Utah on April 14, 2023. The DIRT course focuses on convoy operations, field living, small arms skills, defensive site preparation, radio communication, and self-aid buddy care under fire, and other deployment readiness skills.  (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs, Public Affairs Hill AFB.)
Airman 1st Class Oliver Walton-Williams (left) with 729th Air Control Squadron keeps lookout during a Deployment Initial Readiness Training course at Hill Air Force Base, Utah on April 14, 2023. The DIRT course focuses on convoy operations, field living, small arms skills, defensive site preparation, radio communication, and self-aid buddy care under fire, and other deployment readiness skills.  (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs, Public Affairs Hill AFB.)

“We have had great support from the other organizations on base,” Miller said. “Having the support and expertise of these organizations is invaluable to course success.”

Along with newer Airmen who are yet to deployed, DIRT school is open to a wide range of rank and experience levels from across the base.

“Having experienced people in the course can help better guide the newer trainee,” Miller said. “They also add by relating personal stories and experiences from their own deployments. Another reason is that these skills can become perishable. Refresher training can help these individuals stay sharp and ready to deploy.”

Being a multi-capable Airman is one of the overarching concepts of the readiness training.

“Receiving the training we offer through DIRT, helps make Airman more flexible and adds to their multi-capability,” Miller said. “If they are called up to support something that is outside of their normal career field expertise, they will be more ready.”

Miller said he and his cadre of 10 instructors feel great satisfaction on the last day of DIRT, knowing they had a part in giving these students memories and valuable skills that will hopefully be with them the rest of their lives.

“My goal is for the people who complete this training to feel like they have enough baseline deployment knowledge that they don’t feel intimidated or lost when they deploy,” he said. “No matter what rank or career field, at the end of the day, we are all on one team and we all have each other’s backs.”

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