Speaker 1: Right now, we are at Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training Center. We currently have a little over 700 trainees deployed to the BEAST site. These trainees are in the sixth week of training. They're engaging with an unknown force. They don't know if they're friendly, or opposition. There will be exercises in the zones. You'll hear ground attacks and see the trainees encounter insurgents at the DFPs. I guarantee you that somebody's going to get killed today.
Speaker 2: Run, Wagner, go. Hit the dirt!
Speaker 1: Week six. Welcome to the BEAST.
One of the purposes of the BEAST is to remove the trainees from what has become their comfort zone and put them in a field environment for the first time. They're going to have to experience an escalation of activities to include an insurgent uprising, have them facing IED threats, mortar attacks, ground attacks and ultimately even air attacks. With the Airman's creed we kind of write a check that every Airman would be a wingman, a leader and a warrior. Well, here at the BEAST, they have that opportunity to kind of cash that check.
It's a trainee-run operation. They have to make the decisions on what they're going to do as far as leadership. They're going to have to maintain their own chain of command. It's a chance for every trainee to shine a little bit and showcase that leadership that they've learned.
One of the biggest killers of our allied forces is the improvised explosive device. At one point during the week, the trainee's going to be required to chalk out from their zone in groups of 40 or 50, actually go outside the wire. They'll have to transit Allison Trail, which is not being cleared by friendly forces to that point. So they may encounter an IED; they may not. It's kind of an unknown area, so the trainees have to have their situational awareness turned on.
Speaker 3: They look from here, like the trainees didn't see it until they were already on it, and when it went off, it got the first few of them. Basically, he had them all come into a group so that they can give him an outbrief, and basically tell them what they saw, what they did right, what they did wrong, what in the future they might want to look at when they are doing this.
Speaker 4: They put this here for a reason. They put this here because they knew whether the lead for the convoy has seen the marker, or the indicator, is going to go off anyway. So this was designed to take out the lead for the convoy. There's going to be some times when the IEDs go off, whether you see it or not, and you're going to get hit. Now if you're in protective equipment, you're going to have the best chance for survival, but there's going to be some times when you just get hit whether you see it or not.
Speaker 1: The tactical deployment course is conceived as a chance for the trainees to employ the tactical movements that were taught in garrison. They'll have to determine at what point is it appropriate to low crawl, at what point is it appropriate to take cover. They'll even encounter a series of strike dummies. They'll have to make that determination of "Am I going to use the slash? Am I going to use the butt stroke? What rifle fighting technique works best in this situation?"
Speaker 5: Open your mouth! Say something!
Speaker 6: They're on their own. We're just out here monitoring everything that they do. We give them feedback on how they did. We give them direction, but they're pretty much on their own while they're out here.
Speaker 7: We see a huge transformation from these trainees that have little self-confidence; then they come out here, they take full independence, and they build this up themselves. This is their BEAST.
Speaker 1: One of the most physically challenging parts is at the end; there's a high crawl, and the hill is a lot steeper than it looks. So you see the trainees; they're just dragging themselves up here.
Speaker 7: On that final crawl, it is the final stretch for their tactical deployment course.
Speaker 1: I always tell them, if you can make it to the top of the hill, with your wingman, it's going to taste better than pancakes.
Speaker 8: That was one of the harder things I've done in a long time.
Speaker 9: I was very tired; however, we have to push and fight through. We could not stop until we made it to the top.
Speaker 10: Just knowing that you're able to accomplish this type of feat is real motivating.
Speaker 6: You see where they build their confidence because a lot of them want to give out. Their wingman helps them push through. Then, once they get done, I would say 99.9 percent of them have felt a difference, and they felt like they've actually accomplished something.
Speaker 1: Every trainee I've talked to has talked about what a great team-building experience it was for their flight. You ask them what their favorite part of BMT is, they say the BEAST.
Speaker 11: Exercise, exercise, exercise. Alarm yellow, mark zero, alarm yellow, mark zero.
Speaker 1: The BEAST is a weeklong exercise altogether, where trainees are going to be thrust into a situation where they have to form a team in the first couple days. They're going to have to provide security for their own camp, 360 degrees of security, five DFPs around every zone. They will encounter insurgents.
Speaker 11: Alarm black, mark zero, initial relief. Alarm black, mark zero, initial relief.
Speaker 12: What just happens is now, and we were under attack, everybody sweeps around the area looking for damage, unexploded objects, casualties and contamination. We found an unexploded object, put a barrier around it and then we looked for casualties. We tended to all the hurt people, dressed their wounds, got them to the medical tents as quickly as possible. You get to put everything you learned in BMT into action. When you come out here, you really see that every little detail counts because, if you're not paying attention, it could cost people their lives.
Speaker 13: Keep it up, got it?
Crowd: Yes, sir!
Speaker 1: The trainees are out here, committed to the mission. They feel a pride of ownership in their zone. You ask any of the trainees what zone they're from, they're going to sound off loud and proud.
Crowd: Yes, sir!