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Airman prepares for deployment through Desert Defender training

Airman 1st Class Alicia Powell, commercial search gate member assigned to the 6th Security Forces Squadron, aims at a target during Desert Defender deployment training at Fort Bliss, Texas. Powell attended the training in preparation for her first deployment.

Airman 1st Class Alicia Powell, commercial search gate member assigned to the 6th Security Forces Squadron, aims at a target during Desert Defender deployment training at Fort Bliss, Texas. Powell attended the training in preparation for her first deployment.

Airman 1st Class Alicia Powell, commercial search gate member assigned to the 6th Security Forces Squadron, pauses for photo during Desert Defender deployment training at Fort Bliss, Texas. Powell attended the training in preparation for her first deployment.

Airman 1st Class Alicia Powell, commercial search gate member assigned to the 6th Security Forces Squadron, pauses for photo during Desert Defender deployment training at Fort Bliss, Texas. Powell attended the training in preparation for her first deployment.

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Before deploying to their area of responsibility, military personnel must be trained to ensure they are mission capable and fully equipped to fulfill their duties as well as handle any situations that may arise. One particular Airman recently participated in training known as Desert Defender at Fort Bliss, Texas, to prepare for her first deployment.

Airman 1st Class Alicia Powell, commercial search gate member assigned to the 6th Security Forces Squadron (SFS), says she has mixed emotions concerning her deployment. However, she attended her training with a desire to absorb as much knowledge as possible.

“I am a sponge right now,” said Powell. “This is my first deployment so I’m expecting to soak in as many deployment tips and skills as possible. I don’t know what to expect once I get over there, but I’m sure I will get the hang of things as I start working.”

During the three week course, Powell received training in close combat, urban operations, land navigation, convoy and walking patrols, static defense for entry control points, and basic medical tactics during medical evacuation. She also learned how to react in a fire fight by experiencing a simulated ambush during patrols.

“The deployment training that I went through is extremely important,” said Powell. “There are certain tactics that need to be learned in order to defend myself as well as my brothers and sisters.”

Powell received improvised explosive device (IED) training as well. She learned how IEDs are made, where they can be placed, and what to look for when outside of the deployed installation. Additionally, she and her peers experienced various simulated vehicle roll overs. The simulators required them to escape and ensure that everyone was uninjured and ready to push forward.

At MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, Powell will continue to receive training up until her deployment. She and her fellow defenders will train in combative techniques, firing drills and building clearing.

She says that the 6th SFS works to keep them sharp, alert and ready to respond at any moment.

“I am lucky to have experienced individuals on my team who I look up to,” said Powell. “They have taken me under their wing and have taught me a lot.”

Powell says that when she deploys her responsibilities will consist of providing air base defense. She will be posted at various locations throughout the installation.

“I will essentially be defending any part of the base that needs the manpower,” said Powell. “I am very excited. I joined the military to fight for our country and I’m finally getting ready to put my boots into action.”