Instructor uses Marine Corps experience in Air Guard
By Master Sgt. Mike Smith, National Guard Bureau
/ Published July 11, 2010
EL PASO, Texas -- As a combat-seasoned Marine, Air Force Tech. Sgt. David Butler never thought he would be serving here as an instructor with the Texas Air National Guard.
But now that he is here, he loves it.
"I absolutely love my job down here and the guys I work with," Butler said about serving with the 204th Security Forces Squadron, which operates the Desert Defender Air Force Regional Training Center.
He is putting his combat knowledge to use preparing active duty, Air Guard, and Air Force Reserve Command security forces Airmen for area security operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Their training here includes mounted operations on armored vehicles, dismounted patrols, counter-insurgency operations, and sniper and counter-sniper operations.
Butler brings a little bit of Marine Corps confidence-building to the nearly 50 days of intense training these Airmen undergo.
"I tell them upfront, 'I'm going to push you to your limits, as far as I can possibly push you,' and that's what we do," he said.
"Coming out of here, they learn a valuable lesson, whether it's how much they can stand, or who can stand the heat and who needs to be trained a little bit more."
The Guard is well known for its Soldiers and Airmen, who bring civilian expertise as well as prior service knowledge to a mission.
Butler said the real-life experiences of all the Guard instructors helps develop scenarios that show students what they will encounter down-range.
"That's what we put the Airmen through that come through this schoolhouse," he said.
Butler joined the Air Guard with 15 years of service, including 12 years in the Marine Corps and two years with Air Force Reserve Command.
His service in the Reserve first brought him to the Texas Guard on a temporary duty assignment.
"I had no intentions, when I came to this unit, of joining the Guard, until I came down here," he said.
Since he joined, the schoolhouse has grown to become an Air Force-certified, regional schoolhouse with new buildings, classrooms and the latest military equipment.
"We put our heads together and based off of that, and what the [Air Force] Security Forces Center requires us to teach, roll that all into one training package," he said.
Butler is not alone in building up the mission, because there are 39 other Marine and Army combat veterans, former police officers and other experienced Guardsmen instructing with him.
"The drive, the desire to do good and teach these deploying defenders is in every single one of the cadre. We all give a 110 percent everyday to these students," said Lt. Col. Carl Alvarez, the squadron and training center commander.
"Outside the wire" is really our forte, said Alvarez. "The cadre has fired their weapons in theatre. They have seen it, they have done it, and that is what we are best suited to."