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Behind the Lines: Robins gives airmen realistic look at combat, deployment

Airmen from all over the country come to Robins to train for situations they could face during deployment, including combat.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Behind the gates of Robins Air Force Base, you'll find what looks like a real-life combat zone.

Airmen from all over the country come to the base for a two-week training before deploying and handling the real deal.

"We put them through land navigation, small unit tactics, weapons, communication, convoy, patrol and then through hand-to-hand combat," said Staff Sergeant Tyler Grim.

He says they take notes from deployed troops and mimic situations they're dealing with for the training. 

Airmen spend two weeks working in a classroom environment before they put everything to the test during a three-day simulation training in what looks like a realistic war zone.

"A lot of these guys haven't touched their weapons or seen a lot of this training, maybe since basic training, and a lot of them haven't seen it ever in their whole careers," said Grim.

Everything from the loud music to the explosions and realistic bullets helps airmen adapt to different stressors while completing their mission. The airmen even have to sleep in cots on the property and practice guarding their station overnight.

"If they don't cut it in here and they're not good to go, then we're not going to allow them to deploy, because their safety is in our hands," said Grim.

Robins is only one of two bases in the entire country to put on this training. Grim says it is a big production and a lot of work to make sure the airmen are ready.

Technical Sergeant Erika White helps recruit people from around the base to dress up for the exercise and act as either opposing forces or locals the airmen need to work with. She says anyone on base can volunteer and she hopes they get just as much out of it as the airmen.

"They realize what we do is real," she said. "When they're downtown and see a service member and say 'thank you for what you do, thank you for your service' and we say, 'thank you for your support' they can really see what that support is and what we need from them."

The 5th Combat Communications group also puts on Spartan training and self-defense classes for base employees and their dependents.

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