90th Ground Combat Training Squadron Cadre crucial to defender success

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Landon Gunsauls
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

Creeping through the grass and looking down on a dusty gravel road, a call goes out to open fire. A M240B machine gun opens fire on a hill, a rocket propelled grenade hits a payload transporter and  the convoy screeches to a halt.

This isn’t a real assault on a convoy, though. It’s part of the Nuclear Convoy Course hosted by the 90th Ground Combat Training Squadron and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Gabranidis, cadre and opposing forces second in charge, just started his first assault of the day.

90 GCTS hosted convoy teams from the three missile wings during the Nuclear Convoy Course at Camp Guernsey, March 20 to April 7, 2023, but that’s not all they’re responsible for.

Cadre at Camp Guernsey work to train and equip defenders and ensure those defenders across the Air Force are prepared to execute their mission, no matter the conditions or circumstances. Gabranidis has recently spent  weeks planning and coordinating how to best test the trainees with his OPFOR team and the rest of the cadre team.

Though for Gabranidis it’s more than just a mission, it’s a job that he’s proud to do and is passionate about. He works day in and out to ensure the successful arming of students with the knowledge and tools to get the job done.

“I spent three years at my first duty station of Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. You get to see all sides of the career field there, from flightline security and even a little bit of nukes, because STRATCOM [U.S. Strategic Command] is there,” said Gabranidis. “With those three years of experience, I kind of jumped around and did a little bit of everything, including deploying to Ahmad al-Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, with the Third Battalion, First Marines for the first half and then Second Battalion, First Marines for the second half.”

Having only heard about Guernsey from other security forces members, Gabranidis applied while deployed to Kuwait and was accepted to the 90 GCTS after going back to Offutt, transferring to Camp Guernsey only a month later.

“I love this job. Obviously, there's hard hours but I love it because of the opportunity. I've never been in a place before where I got to obtain so much knowledge and go to so many different places and experience different groups of people,” said Gabranidis. “I've worked with pretty much every part of the Air Force you can think of, I've worked with the Army and closely worked with civilian agencies, because they come out to see our courses. It's really cool. Overall, I've gotten nothing but good things to say in terms of opportunity, because of how many schools I've got to go to and how much knowledge I've gained by being here.”

Gabranidis has attended more than seven formal schools and courses including Army Air Assault. He is also preparing to attend Army Sniper school in the coming months. This, coupled with his vast array of experiences, having attended formal instructor training school at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, makes it apparent to those around him that Gabranidis is motivated to learn and teach his students, rain or shine.

“I got to go to the basic instructor course at Keesler Air Force Base, where I picked up a lot of great knowledge that I will carry with me for the rest of my life about public speaking, how to teach people and different teaching techniques. That was one of my favorite trips because of the value outside of the military.

Gabranidis talks about his work with an unmatched passion and encourages people to come out to Guernsey whether it’s applying as cadre or just attending one of the many courses offered.

“Working a lot is in the job description. If you don't expect to be running around, crawling in the dirt, being outdoors in the elements, you probably shouldn't come here. If you're not a fan of the cold or the wind, this might not be the place for you. If you're not physically fit, this is definitely not the place for you,” said Gabrandis. “We are here to set the example for our students, and for anybody that wants to come here, keep those things in mind. The opportunities are here, as long as you are motivated and you hit the ground running, but you can't come here and not expect to work really hard for the Air Force if the Air Force is going to work really hard for you.”


Click here for more information on special duty opportunities with the 90 GCTS.