Security forces Airmen complete 'Fly Away' course at Fort Dix

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
  • Air Mobility Warfare Center Public Affairs
Sixty security forces Airmen from across the Air Force prepared for an overseas deployment while attending the Fly Away Security Training, or FAST, Course 07-1 Jan. 18 here.

Each student gained new skills in everything from hand-to-hand combat to anti-hijacking training.

The FAST course is the first of its kind taught by the Air Mobility Warfare Center's 421st Combat Training Squadron. It provided students with high level-training from an established schoolhouse and met an immediate need for Airmen deploying to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, said Capt. Brent Gallant, the flight commander for the 421st CTS operations flight.

"We received a request to fill a need to formally train security forces who are deploying to places like Afghanistan and Iraq who will be performing fly away security for military aircraft going in and out of forward bases," Captain Gallant said. "We worked with U.S. Central Command Air Forces and Air Mobility Command to fit the training into our schedule and after about three months of coordination and work, we got it done."

All Airmen get combat skills training before they deploy, the captain said, but in the case of fly-away security, some special training needed to be done.

"Fly away security is a little bit different of a mission and there was no formal training program for that," Captain Gallant said. "It made sense to get this training off the ground."

During the 10-day course, students received classroom training in areas such as fly away security concept of operations, legal use of force, verbal judo and cross-cultural communication. They also learned practical training in subjects such as self defense and anti-hijacking training in hand-on training outside of the classroom.

"The students were taught, for example, the importance of providing force protection advice to aircraft commanders and how to provide positive entry control to an aircraft," said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Koenigsmann, a 421st CTS instructor for the course. "They also learned about guarding the flight deck and denying access to the flight deck when there are passengers on the plane."

Sergeant Koenigsmann said the course also included a lot of scenario-based training.

"That's where we put the troops under different situations to show them things that are happening in the deployed theater of operations," Sergeant Koenigsmann said. "We show them things that could happen through the different scenarios and we make sure they know the right level of force to use when responding to certain situations. Several days of the training that we had were scenario-based."

Some of the training done for the FAST course is similar to what the 421st CTS offers in its Air Force Raven Training Program, but it's not the same, said Master Sgt. Mike McHone, the course director for the FAST course.

"The FAST course is specific for the combat environment and is not as rigourous as our Raven course," Sergeant McHone said. "Trained Ravens can operate anywhere in the world and they receive more intensive, longer training than the FAST course provides."

Some of the students in the FAST course noted the hand-to-hand, self defense and verbal judo training as some that will help them the most.

"The verbal compliance techniques we learned in verbal judo taught us how to use professionalism while at the same time taking control of a possible situation we could deal with," said Airman 1st Class George McCain, a security forces student in the course from the 72nd Security Force Squadron at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.

"My favorite learning experience was during the self-defense class," said Staff Sgt. Joseph Brown, a security forces journeyman from the 100th SFS at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England. "It was more in-depth in defense tactics than any other security forces classes most of us have attended before."

Senior Airman Katherine Bates, a student in the course from the 95th SFS from Travis AFB, Calif., said this kind of training will help the security forces career field overall.

"In security forces, anything can happen," Airman Bates said. "Having this training is a plus knowing I could go away on a fly-away mission while I'm deployed."

Another student, Senior Airman Richard Nieves from the 12th SFS at Randolph AFB, Texas, said "This course teaches us the new way the Air Force mission is going in the combat environment and provides the tools to not only protect yourself, but also the aircraft and the aircrew."

The next FAST course is slated for the July timeframe and an additional two classes are being planned for fiscal 2008, Sergeant McHone said.

"The cadre are preparing our Airmen for the tough challenges we face in the war on terrorism," Sergeant McHone said.

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