The 736th SFS are defenders of the force
By Master Sgt. JT May III, 36th Contingency Response Group
/ Published January 16, 2019
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFNS) -- The dictionary defines the word “defender” as a person who defends someone or something. It’s no coincidence security force members throughout the Air Force use this moniker. Defender is well-suited; however, just one word could not speak to their flexibility, warrior ethos or enormous responsibility.
If you’ve spent more than a week in the Air Force, you’ve seen these individuals working in the capacity as law enforcement, military working dog handlers or flight line security. Many typecast these members because they’re the first person you see every day when your ID is checked to get on base.
Some do not realize their impact to combat operations, but everyone who has donned the blue beret understands what is asked of them. Specifically, the training they must complete to be combat effective.
Sixty-eight active duty Air Force and Air National Guard security force members graduated tier 1 and 2 Commando Warrior training at the Pacific Regional Training Center Dec. 14, 2018. The 736th Security Forces Squadron from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam hosted the iteration.
“As part of the (Air Force chief of staff’s) Year of the Defender initiative, we lead the way in providing world-class ground combat training for all security force members,” said Maj. Richard Cheng, 736th SFS commander. “Commando Warrior serves as a gateway into the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command region as well as a major nexus for all defenders conducting the new revolutionized tier training.”
During the 14-day course, students received in-depth training in convoy operations, counter improvised explosive devices, navigation techniques, advanced weapons tactics and other skills to promote base and mobile security. These skills are most vital to members deploying downrange.
“My biggest takeaway from this training is the team building aspect, to be effective we all have to finish despite different strengths and weaknesses,” said Staff Sgt. Seth Gordon, 374th Security Forces Squadron patrolman at Yokota Air Base, Japan. “I’m excited to bring this knowledge back to Yokota so we can incorporate it."
Without a doubt, the cadre is the essential ingredient. The tone is set from day one without saying one word. Military tabs affixed to instructors’ uniforms highlight diverse backgrounds. Ranger, Airborne, Air Assault, Jump, Jungle, K-9 and Pathfinder are some of the qualifications held.
“Having a Ranger tab helps me with the leadership angle not only for students but most importantly for my cadre,” Tech. Sgt. Robert Keefe, 736th SFS Commando Warrior flight chief. “The techniques and knowledge gained at Ranger school have helped me become a more active and open-minded leader. The cadre knows this, which allows them to be more creative to advance our curriculum.”
Like a puzzle, each member is a great piece alone, but together creates a dynamic sight picture on the battlefield. Even without the flare, each instructor draws from past experiences to give students the edge needed to operate in combat situations.
"Our training allows the students to have a level of familiarity with scenarios they may encounter being deployed,” said Tech. Sgt. Edgar Gonzalez, 736th SFS Commando Warrior instructor. "Giving students the knowledge and hands-on training allows them to be confident if they were placed in that situation, which could save lives.”
The 736th SFS has shown their commitment to preparing frontline security force members with invaluable training and have facilitated “Defensor Fortis.”
“We are providing defenders everywhere the absolute best instructors possible in order for Airmen to meet the multi-domain threats facing the Air Force today,” said Cheng.