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Airmen strengthen battlefield skills during Golden Coyote

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --

Ellsworth Airmen participated in the 33rd annual Golden Coyote exercise in the Black Hills National Forest and Custer State Park, June 12-23, 2017.

Golden Coyote is a two-week training exercise that provides units real-world scenarios they may encounter during contingency operations or homeland support missions, according to the South Dakota National Guard website.

“We have had Navy, Air Force, Canadian [military] and National Guard units all come through this lane and learn basic Army tactics,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Kyle Patterson, 833rd Engineer Company, 224th Engineer Battalion, Iowa National Guard. “Every Soldier, Sailor and Airman will need to know this at some time in case they engage the enemy. It’s just important to know.”

The exercise was divided into three phases that focused on command and control, interoperability training with NATO and allied partner nations force protection, warrior tasks and drills, and recovery operations.

 “This was my first time participating in the leadership reaction course,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dustin Oslund, an explosive ordinance disposal technician assigned to the 28th Civil Engineer Squadron. “Seeing everyone come together with different ideas and working as a team to get through these courses is a great feeling.”

More than 3,000 exercise participants from 25 military units around the globe took part in the longest-running National Guard exercise in the country, according to the exercise website and engaged in a leadership reaction course, virtual convoys, and urban, dismounted and mounted patrol training.

Since 1984, the South Dakota National Guard has hosted various active-duty, National Guard and reserve units from across the Department of Defense along with NATO and allied partners to participate in training opportunities, supporting overseas contingency operations and homeland support missions.