97 SFS teams with Fort Sill, Tinker AFB for PRIME BEEF training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kayla Christenson
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 97th Security Forces Squadron at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, supported Tinker Air Force Base’s 507th Civil Engineer Squadron for a Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force training initiative at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, April 1, 2022.

Prime BEEF units are specialized, rapidly deployable civil engineer assets that can quickly establish adaptive bases in austere locations capable of facilitating air and ground-based operations. As such, learning basic security forces techniques allow them to defend themselves in dangerous environments where air bases are not yet established.

“We were approached because we were asked for support from a local reserve unit at Tinker AFB’s CES for their PRIME BEEF initiative,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Cantarero, 97th SFS instructor. “This involved members like plumbers or electricians who are or will be trained to be rapidly deployed at a moment's notice or downrange.”

The training not only helps CES Airmen, but 97th SFS defenders as well.

“This helps our instructors learn how to teach non-security forces,” said Tech. Sgt. John Pena, 97th SFS instructor. “With the exception of PRIME BEEF, we always instruct within our unit. Training with others posed new challenges we normally don’t encounter, so this resulted in better instructors for our defenders.''

Pena said by getting hands-on lessons from experienced instructors, students are able to ask questions and get back an in-depth answer instead of a simple textbook answer.

“Students have the ability to get real-time feedback during practical application,” he said. “It also allows us to interact with other Air Force careers and hopefully help them understand a little bit of our world. In turn, it helps us learn about the CES world too.”

The instructors had first-hand experience with convoy operations, reaction to contact, and land navigation thanks to the training areas Fort Sill provided.

“Now with the access we have,” said Pena. “We can take advantage of the training areas and equipment to help make our defenders better with their everyday job and prepare them for deployment operations.”

Pena said the PRIME BEEF initiative with Tinker AFB and Fort Sill was an overall success and he is extremely proud of the 97th SFS team.

“I have the opportunity to work with some of the best defenders in the Air Force,” he said. “I'm very proud of my team and their ability to adapt and overcome some of the challenges that we had. Things didn't go as planned at times, but they stayed focused and professional and we were able to give the 507th CE the best training.”