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Filipino heritage strengthens Integrated Defense Leadership Course cadre

  • Published
  • By Eric M. White
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

David Greenwood was born at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, formerly a U.S. Air Force installation. While pregnant with him, his mother met a U.S. Air Force member whom she would later marry. Greenwood would grow to call that man his dad, and their relationship would eventually contribute to his decision to enlist in the U.S. Air Force.

Greenwood was raised in Santo Nino village, a very impoverished area near Angeles City, Philippines. He has some scattered memories of his time in the Philippines, some of which blend with photos he’s seen and stories his family has shared. He remembers the huts that many people lived in, chasing chickens to corral them back into their family chicken coop, the taste of Filipino food and asking people around the village for candy with his older sister. One of his earliest major experiences happened in the wake of the Mount Pinatubo volcano eruption. They heard a large explosion and had to evacuate their town. Greenwood’s mother carried him and led his sister on a miles-long trek to a nearby city for safety.  

After his parents married, the family relocated to Cocoa Beach, Florida, in 1993, the first of many places in the U.S. where he’d live.

He’d see his dad in his Air Force uniform, and although his dad did not push him toward the military, he inspired him to pursue his own military career. Greenwood wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after high school, but after a year, he decided to enlist.   

Now, Staff Sgt. David Greenwood is a member of the 926th Security Force Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, but is temporarily assigned to the 910th Security Forces Squadron at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, as a member of the cadre team that facilitates the Integrated Defense Leadership Course.

IDLC is a two-week course designed to provide Reserve Defenders with intensely focused hands-on training to achieve and maintain combat readiness. The course began in Spring, 2021.

Greenwood’s home unit took the course in February 2022 during a particularly brutal portion of the northeast Ohio winter.

During that two weeks, Greenwood and his fellow Defenders learned fundamentals and advanced tactics of the security forces career field. They got hands-on experience with combat casualty care, lead tactical squad movements, land navigation, close-quarters battle drills, area security operations, static defense and more.

The weather during their course saw students digging defensive fortified positions in sub-zero wind chills, enduring downpours of rain on top of twelve inches of slowly melting snow while navigating the woodlands at Camp James A. Garfield Joint Military Training Center and planning and executing an assault on an enemy position in intermittently heavy snowfall.

“It was a different experience, the whole snow aspect. Of course, I’m from Vegas so we don’t really expect too much snow,” said Greenwood. “I kind of took charge as a student, so I led my team and wanted to become a leader. It’s IDLC, they’re trying to promote leaders. It really brought out the leadership in me, doing all these things that we didn’t really do in tech school. Even on my active-duty side, we didn’t really touch on land navigation or too much CQB.”

Throughout that challenging course, IDLC cadre took notice of Greenwood’s efforts. As the course concluded, leadership asked him to consider coming back to perform a stint as a cadre member, teaching new students from across the command the same skills he’d developed and honed during the course, while offering the benefit of his unique experience and background.

IDLC is open to all AFRC security forces squadrons and draws a diverse pool of students. Diversity among the cadre affords the students diverse experience and perspectives, enhancing their training experience.

“The team here, they’re all from different parts of the country, and even the world,” said Greenwood.

He says it’s great to see how the team comes together and uses their individual life experiences to form a strong collective experience for their students. Different cultures often have different approaches to teaching and learning, and because the student pool is diverse, diversity among the cadre helps ensure each student can get the maximum results from IDLC. As the only Asian-American on the cadre right now, Greenwood sees his role as helpful, especially when Asian-American students participate.

“You teach all these new Airmen, staff sergeants or non-commissioned officers. You teach them a lot of things, and then actually seeing them do it in the field, it’s awesome.”

Adding to their capabilities, many of the IDLC instructors have law enforcement careers outside of the Air Force as well. Greenwood is a law enforcement officer with the Law Vegas Metropolitan Police Department where he has served for two and a half years. He says his roles as an Air Force Reserve security forces Airman and a Las Vegas police officer are different in some major ways, but training overlaps help enhance his skillsets in both careers.

Greenwood is still in touch with many of his family members in the Philippines. He hasn’t been back to visit since his family moved to Florida, but hopes to travel there soon, hopefully after his stint with IDLC, which is scheduled to wrap up in September of this year. In the meantime, he hopes to bring a bit of his birthplace to northeast Ohio by cooking a Filipino meal for his Wingmen on the IDLC cadre team.  

The cadre hail from several Air Force Reserve units and serve in the instructor capacity for varying lengths of time. While together, they are united in the singular focus of ensuring that Reserve Defenders are combat-ready with a well-honed skill set. The course is intense, demanding a heavy commitment from its instructors, but student feedback has been positive. The consensus of the cadre is that instructing IDLC is a very positive experience, and perhaps a shared meal of Greenwood’s Filipino cuisine will make that consensus even stronger.