FAST Airmen fly thousands of miles to keep aircraft safe

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Steve Horton
  • 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Gathering equipment and getting weapons from the armory in preparation for the day’s patrol is something security forces Airmen do every day. But for the members of the 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron’s fly-away security team, the patrol will take them to five airfields and cover almost 1,000 miles before the day is over. 

A fly-away security team, or FAST, is similar to Air Mobility Command’s Phoenix Raven program and usually consists of two to six people. With almost daily airlift throughout Southwest Asia and the Horn of Africa, U.S. aircraft sometimes fly in and out of unsecured locations. Due to the high volume of intratheater airlift missions requiring Phoenix Raven security, U.S. Central Command authorized the FAST Airmen for the fly-away mission. 

FAST members have flown more than 400 missions since the program’s inception here in January. 

“Our job is flight-deck denial and ground security,” said Tech. Sgt. Lukas Parr, 332nd FAST coordinator. “Sometimes we land at airfields that have little or no security, so we take up positions around the aircraft and provide the security while (it is) on the ground.”

Cockpit denial forces are needed when there is even a remote chance that a passenger on one of the C-130 Hercules aircraft belonging to the 777th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron could take over the aircraft. The chance and ability to do this are very slim, but precautions are in place. When an aircraft is transporting detainees or people who have not received a rigorous screening, the cockpit denial team will be there. 

To be selected as one of the few security forces Airmen able to perform the FAST mission here, a person must complete survival, evasion, rescue and escape level-B training, high-risk-of-capture training and local-use-of-force training. 

“It’s a great opportunity to do something different from the average security forces job,” said FAST member Airman 1st Class Alex Gray. “I feel like I’m really contributing to the mission.” 

The missions can be long and draining, but FAST Airmen remain vigilant, no matter where their job takes them.