YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio —
David Greenwood was born at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, formerly a United States Air Force installation. While pregnant with him, his mother met a member of the United States Air Force whom she would later marry. Greenwood would eventually call this man his father, and their relationship would ultimately contribute to his decision to enlist in the United States Air Force.
Greenwood grew up in the village of Santo Nino, a very poor area near Angeles City, Philippines. He has a few scattered memories of his time in the Philippines, some of which intertwine with the photos he saw and the stories his family shared. He remembers the huts that many people lived in, chasing chickens back to their family coop, tasting Filipino food, and asking people in the village for sweets with his older sister. One of his first major experiences occurred following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo volcano. They heard a big explosion and had to evacuate their town. Greenwood’s mother carried him and led his sister on a mile-long hike to a nearby town for safety.
After his parents married, the family moved to Cocoa Beach, Florida in 1993, the first of many places in the United States where he would live.
He would see his father in his Air Force uniform, and although his father did not push him into the military, he did inspire 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 926e Security Forces Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, but is temporarily assigned to 910e Security Forces Squadron at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio as a member of the cadre team that conducts 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 started in the spring of 2021.
The original Greenwood unit took the course in February 2022 during a particularly brutal part of the northeast Ohio winter.
During those two weeks, Greenwood and his fellow Defenders learned the basics and advanced tactics of the security forces career field. They gained hands-on experience in combat casualty care, leading tactical squad movements, land navigation, close combat drills, area security operations, static defense and more.
The weather during their course saw the students dig defensive fortified positions in sub-zero wind chills, enduring rain showers on twelve inches of slowly melting snow while navigating through the woods at Camp James A. Garfield Joint Military Training Center and planning and executing an assault on an enemy position in intermittent heavy snowfall.
“It was a different experience, the whole snow aspect. Of course, I’m from Las Vegas, so we’re not really expecting too much snow,” Greenwood said. “I kind of took charge as a student, so I led my team and wanted to be a leader. It’s IDLC, they’re trying to promote leaders. It really brought out the leadership in me, doing all those things that we didn’t really do in tech school. Even on my active duty side, we didn’t really get into land navigation or too much CQB.
Throughout this difficult journey, IDLC executives have noticed Greenwood’s efforts. At the end of the course, management asked him to consider returning for a stint as a member of the cadre, teaching new students across the command the same skills he had developed and honed during the course, while by offering the benefit of its unique experience and background.
The IDLC is open to all AFRC Security Force Squadrons and attracts a diverse pool of students. Diversity among executives provides students with diverse experience and perspectives, enhancing their training experience.
“The team here, they’re all from different parts of the country, and even the world,” Greenwood said.
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 body is diverse, diversity among the cadre helps ensure that each student can get the maximum results from IDLC. As the only Asian American on the frame right now, Greenwood sees his role as helpful, especially when Asian American students participate.
“You train all these new airmen, master sergeants or non-commissioned officers. You teach them a lot of things, and then see them do it on the pitch, it’s great.
In addition to their abilities, many IDLC instructors also have law enforcement careers outside of the Air Force. Greenwood is a law enforcement officer with the Metropolitan Police Department in Law Vegas, where he served for two and a half years. He says his roles as an Air Force Reserve security forces aviator and a Las Vegas police officer are different in some ways, but the overlapping training helps improve his skills in both careers.
Greenwood is still in contact with many of his family members in the Philippines. He hasn’t returned to visit since his family moved to Florida, but hopes to visit soon, hopefully after his IDLC stint, which is due to end in September this year. In the meantime, he hopes to bring a little bit of his northeast Ohio birthplace by cooking a Filipino meal for his wingmen on the IDLC executive team.
Executives are drawn from several Air Force Reserve units and serve as instructors for varying lengths of time. Although they are together, they are united with the sole purpose of ensuring the reserve defenders are battle-ready with a well-honed skill set. The course is intense, requiring significant commitment from its instructors, but student feedback has been positive. The cadre’s consensus 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.