SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on AF.mil. These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)
Security forces Airmen deploy a lot. It's part of the job.
Tech. Sgt. Shaun Bush has deployed five times during his 11 years as a security forces Airman.
That experience is one reason Air Force leaders tasked him to lead a team for more than 200 days during his most recent deployment to Southwest Asia.
In all, 10 Airmen assigned to the 50th Security Forces Squadron deployed alongside him between June and December 2013. Together, they composed what's known as a Fly-Away Security Team.
Air Force FAST teams play a crucial role in protecting aircrews and airplanes in hostile areas. They fly on specific missions to various deployed locations to ensure the safety and security of aircraft and crew members.
"We trained specifically on how to perform the FAST mission, how to handle ourselves, how to secure others, the flight, the airplane the air crew and passengers," Bush said. "It's a vitally important job because a pilot is not trained in hand-to-hand combat, nor is he or she trained to handle things that we are trained to handle. A loadmaster is there to manage the plane's cargo, not worry about security. That task lies with us. We're there to make sure the crew members can focus on their jobs."
A FAST assignment requires specific skills. Security forces Airmen must complete Evasion Conduct After Capture and FAST training prior to deploying.
Bush said this particular team, known as the 451st Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron FAST, provided flight deck and perimeter security for C-130 Hercules and crews as they conducted air operations. The team flew more than 700 missions, 2,400 sorties and transported more than 23,500 people, including 55 detainees. Their missions carried 11,000 tons of cargo to 24 different landing zones in seven countries.
"It was exciting for sure," Bush said. "We were operating at a time when green-on-blue attack scenarios were dominating news headlines. Many times, we landed on dirt runways, in locations where our team made up the full extent of security on the ground."
The team also worked an extremely high operations tempo as the U.S. military conducted drawdown operations in the region.
Upon returning to Schriever AFB, every member of the team received a medal and Bush, now a 50th Space Wing Inspector General inspector, said their deployed commander was extremely appreciative of the team's service.
"There were a lot of long days," Bush said. "But, given the opportunity, I would do it again in a heartbeat. We moved a lot of people -- our people out and host country soldiers in."
Bush's team was the second of three FAST teams to deploy from the 50th SFS in the past three years.