LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS —
Recently, the Air Force Security Forces Center Headquarters In-Lieu-Of Cell was awarded the Air Force Team Excellence award for its combat training reorganization efforts.
"Our cell is made up of members from the active-duty, Guard and Reserve components, and it is a true depiction of a team," said Senior Master Sgt. Armando Celaya, superintendent of Security Forces Training.
"Collectively we were able to accomplish many great feats that ultimately resulted in us winning the Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award."
The Security Forces In-Lieu-Of Cell is responsible for training Airmen for in-lieu-of missions. ILO missions put Airmen in cross-section situations and ask them to perform nontraditional missions to provide temporary expansion and support.
"After analyzing the training that our troops were receiving, we realized that our troops were going through redundant training, and we managed to cut the training time down by 42 percent," Sergeant Celaya said.
"This has cut back on us wasting money and resources, but it also gives our troops more time to spend with their families before they deploy."
The time consolidated will save the Department of Defense $22.8 million a year.
While the modifications made to the program are ongoing, the majority of the changes took three to six months to implement.
The Air Force requires its troops to go to predeployment Power Projection Platforms. PPPs are Army installations that deploy high-priority active units.
"We had Air Force regional training center members go to Army posts to conduct training there," Sergeant Celaya said.
"We also had the Army conduct some of the training for our Air Force troops."
Members of the security forces are currently training at these Army PPPs: Camp Shelby, Miss., Fort Hood, Fort Bliss, Fort Dix, N.J. and Fort Bragg, N.C.
"Our troops are performing various missions, from basic law and order up to police transition teams that train the Iraqi police," Sergeant Celaya said.
Recent combat training has allowed military personnel who participated in ILO missions to return and help improve training.
"They are the ones that have been on the ground, so they know exactly what's going on," Sergeant Celaya said.
ILO missions typically last 179 days, but some Airmen can be assigned to a specific mission up to a year.
"It's a very prestigious award and it means a great deal to us, but bottom line is that it means that we are taking care of our troops," Sergeant Celaya said.