Personnel from No. 1 Security Forces Squadron based at RAAF Base Williamtown conducted live-fire training during Exercise Gathering Storm at the Singleton military training area from April 27 to May 14.

Exercise Gathering Storm provided aviators across all security disciplines from the squadron the opportunity to train and test existing squadron capabilities in the range of environments in which they support the flying squadrons and wings of Air Force.

Maintaining the capability edge for both the expeditionary security elements as well as national support base security elements is a critical line of effort for the protection of personnel, assets and ultimately air power for the joint force. 

Commanding Officer No. 1 Security Forces Squadron Wing Commander Craig Montgomery said Exercise Gathering Storm followed a prescribed training objective that was immersive and challenging, putting the skills of personnel to the ultimate test.

This included engaging in realistic scenarios that personnel could expect to face, whether supporting a single C-17A Globemaster mission in an uncertain environment or a small air task group operating in the region.

“Exercise scenarios followed the train-the-battle-shot methodology, moving from individual live fire or in some cases individual and patrol dog tactical training through multi-team tactics,” Wing Commander Montgomery said.

“As such, No. 1 Security Forces Squadron employed our airbase counter-intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, including military working dog teams and support from snipers.

“Command, control, communication and computer intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities were also engaged with Air Force security and air defence guard personnel utilising both ground and air surveillance to monitor and track potential ground and air threats.

“Additionally, our response force, comprising a quick-reaction force together with heavy weapon team, provided tactical support to securing and maintaining control of the battlespace. 

“Exposure to the full spectrum of operational scenarios is essential to retain the strength of our capability.

“I am incredibly proud of the performance of our personnel who have demonstrated their skill, agility and professionalism as individuals as well as their ability to perform under extremely challenging conditions as a highly cohesive, focussed and effective team.” 

During the exercise, No. 1 Security Forces Squadron hosted a number of guests to observe the training, including Officer Commanding No. 81 Wing Group Captain Matthew McCormack and Officer Commanding No. 95 Wing Group Captain Andrew McHugh. 

Additionally, No. 1 Security Forces Squadron engaged with a number of honorary commanders of the Hunter Defence Support Network during the activity, strengthening the linkages between RAAF Williamtown and the wider Hunter area.

Exercise Gathering Storm forms part of the force-generation program undertaken by No. 1 Security Forces Squadron as it works up to support follow-on exercises including Rogue Ambush, Talisman Sabre and Pitch Black.