Federal marshals thank Ravens for Lebanon evacuation role

  • Published
  • By Roger Drinnon
  • Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
Air Mobility Command's premier security forces were recognized by the Federal Air Marshal Service during a ceremony here Feb. 12.

Master Sgt. Shawn Larkin, the superintendent of Phoenix Raven and contingency operations for AMC, accepted the FAMS' appreciation award on behalf of 26 active duty and Guard Ravens who teamed up with the FAMS to provide transportation security in July 2006 during the evacuation of American citizens from Lebanon.

"The FAMS wanted to recognize the Ravens for their support during the recent evacuations of U.S. citizens from Lebanon," said James Gallagher, the special agent-in-charge of the FAMS during the mission. "The outstanding logistical support on the ground ensured we could perform our mission of providing in-flight security on all charters carrying evacuees to the United States."

"We provided a joint Federal Air Marshal-U.S. Air Force solution to safely transport 954 evacuee civilians from a major conflict area," Sergeant Larkin said. "All in all, we helped save lives." 

Sergeant Larkin said the key to mission success was safety.

"We completed 100 percent of our missions without incident and transported all of those people to safety," he said.

He said he continues to admire the selflessness shown by all the people involved with the evacuation.

"I'm especially thankful to the 26 active-duty and Air National Guard Ravens and to the 30 Federal Air Marshals who contributed to the mission's success," Sergeant Larkin said. "These individuals answered the call, placed the mission above themselves and deployed within 24 hours to secure the freedom and safety of hundreds of people. To me, that's what being an American is all about."

"The Phoenix Raven program provides specialized training to qualified security forces personnel to conduct aircraft security missions in hostile and/or austere locations," Sergeant Larkin said. "Ravens are hand-picked by their squadron commander based on professionalism, records and physical abilities. Unlike conventional aircraft security, Ravens deploy with aircraft to locations that have either limited or no capability to secure (Air Force) assets on the ground."

Sergeant Larkin said he has been a Raven since completing the training in 1999, and he has served in his current position since January 2006. He said while supporting the Lebanon mission, he was the mission's "stage manager."

"My duties included liaising between the Federal Air Marshals and Ravens, developing joint-duty rosters, ensuring FAMs and Ravens were scheduled on 100 percent of the missions, and working with the Ramstein (Air Base, Germany) Air Traffic Operations Center to ensure no missions were delayed," he said.

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