Security forces members saves lives through education

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Marie Denson
  • 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Protect people, property and resources of the U.S. Air Force. The mission description of a security forces specialist may sound basic, but the job itself requires extensive training in law enforcement and combat tactics.

Each week, members of the 50th Security Forces Squadron engage in training to help prepare themselves for base defense, as well as responsibilities for deployed and overseas locations.

"Our mindset is that practice makes perfect," said Staff Sgt. Michael Kulka, a 50th SFS trainer. "The more we train, the better our muscle memory."

Every month the 50 SFS tries to focus on a different training topic. Each training session starts with the disclaimer that the skills learned are not to be used inappropriately.

"We're realists; you have to crawl before you walk," Sergeant Kulka said. "Airmen are taught the basics. The better they do with it, the more they can build off it."

Currently, Airman 1st Class Reynaldo Aguero, a 50th SFS trainer, is teaching combatives to 50th SFS personnel. As a new member to the training section, Airman Aguero said he figures his time as a trainer is opportunity filled.

"I applied for this position because of the opportunities available to learn new techniques and skills," he said. "Not only has this given me the chance to learn new things that are applicable to our job, but it also gives me that chance to be able to pass this information on to other members within the squadron."

Most recently, Airman Aguero went to San Diego to learn basic combatives and to train for one week with the Gracie family, martial artists known for founding Gracie/Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

"The Gracie Survival Tactics course was created by the Gracie family specifically for law enforcement personnel," Airman Aguero said. "The course focuses more on survival, not how to fight with someone. An important aspect I found from the class was learning how to handcuff the individual from different types of submissions. This type of training can help Security Forces with domestic abuse cases, high risk traffic stops, or deployed operations."

Next on the training schedule is shoot, move and communicate training. An Airman races for cover behind a wooden barricade. Then he surfaces to shoot and provide cover for another member on the course, while communicating with one another about each move they take.

"(Col. Edward Baron, the 50th Mission Support Group commander), (Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Winfree, rhe 50th MSG superintendent) and others went to active-shooter training in South Carolina a couple years ago," Sergeant Kulka said. "Colonel Baron and Chief Winfree decided the training was important, so we received funding for simulation equipment. It is similar to paintball, but we are using actual ammunition filled with laundry detergent and paint. It works better because you get that pain penalty. It's a different war now, so it's up to the individual to have a set of skills that are interchangeable."

At one point different shifts of personnel were responding to security incidents in different ways. This created a problem whenever an Airman went to another shift and had to learn another way of accomplishing a security response. Now, with everyone receiving the same training, security incidents within the restricted area are now consistent across the board, no matter what shift is responding.

"We can be put on a different post everyday, or be down range, so we need to train for every aspect, so people are prepared across the board," said Senior Airman Adam Donahue, a 50th SFS trainer.

With the many jobs available in the security forces career field, various types of training are needed. Domestic violence training, high-risk traffic stops, weapons retention, building entry and clearing procedures all the way down to alarm activation response are common training topics for 50th SFS members.

"As a (50th SFS) trainer we essentially take skills that are going to save lives and break it down to someone who needs to know how to use it, even if they think they'll never use it," said Airman Donahue. "It's significant to know the importance of the training even if the person you're teaching doesn't."