The 452nd Air Mobility Wing commander, Col. Samuel Mahaney, spent his “Dirty Thursday” here last week embedded with members of the 4th Combat Camera Squadron and others to participate in a joint Battlefield Forensics course hosted by the 4TH CTCS July 25.
The commander enjoys spending time each Thursday getting out to units in the wing and doing their everyday jobs or training with them in order to better know and experience their missions and capabilities.
“The reason I go out on Thursdays and get dirty is to get out and spend time with the Airmen,” said Mahaney. “I can read about it, and people can talk about it, but until you get out there and you’ve done the job, it’s really hard to appreciate that. It helps me make sure I’m taking care of people and they’re taking care of the mission.”
During Battlefield Forensics, he got to join the class of 41 students comprised of U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps service members from diverse military occupational specialty codes ranging from combat camera to intelligence, security forces, and explosive ordnance disposal. The course was taught by a mobile training team of seven Department of the Army contractors from Six3 Systems who each hold diverse lifetime career backgrounds in law enforcement and forensics.
“There were a lot of things about this training that surprised me,” added Mahaney. “One is the physical nature of the training. You’re all geared up, you have all your weaponry with you, all your gear, all the things you need to gather forensic evidence, and yet you’re moving quick — you’re moving fast because you never know how much time you have on the scene. It’s a lot of weight, it’s a lot of energy, and it’s a lot of power involved in what you do to gather forensic evidence.”
Only two percent of the entire U.S. military have ever received this one-of-a-kind training, which teaches military members to perform site exploitation techniques including security sweeps; collecting and processing known and unknown prints, latent prints and materiel; collecting DNA; tactical questioning; and forensic photography.
“This training is vital to members of the 452nd (AMW) because when we go out and deploy, we are working with other services all the time,” Mahaney said. “If you look at the history of combat camera, we’ve had folks working with Rangers, with Stryker brigades, and sister services. This type of joint training is very important so that we can share one another’s cultures while working toward the same objectives — that way, when we get in the field, we’re able to accomplish those objectives so much quicker.”
Editor’s note: The 4th CTCS is the only combat camera squadron in the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command, and its mission is to acquire still and motion imagery in support of classified and unclassified air, sea and ground military operations.