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MacDill augmentees: essential for defense

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Casey Atanasio, center, a patient travel coordinator assigned to the 6th Medical Support Squadron, learns proper distance and form for baton strikes at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 25, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Casey Atanasio, center, a patient travel coordinator assigned to the 6th Medical Support Squadron, learns proper distance and form for baton strikes at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 25, 2018. Atanasio participated in a weeklong 6th Security Forces augmentee class that trains Airmen in various career fields on security procedures in case of an emergency or contingency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Casey Atanasio, a patient travel coordinator assigned to the 6th Medical Support Squadron, provides rear security during a room clearing exercise at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 25, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Casey Atanasio, a patient travel coordinator assigned to the 6th Medical Support Squadron, provides rear security during a room clearing exercise at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 25, 2018. Atanasio participated in a weeklong 6th Security Forces augmentee class that trains Airmen in various career fields basic security tactics in case of an emergency or contingency situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force 6th Security Forces Squadron augmentees participate in a room clearing exercise at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 25, 2018.

U.S. Air Force 6th Security Forces Squadron augmentees participate in a room clearing exercise at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 25, 2018. Augmentees learned how to communicate with hand signals called “marshaling,” which allows an augmentee to tactically communicate in dangerous environments as a part of their training to provide security for MacDill AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force Airmen of the 6th Security Forces Squadron trained augmentees on handcuff procedures during a 6th SFS augmentee class at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 25, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Airmen of the 6th Security Forces Squadron trained augmentees on handcuff procedures during a 6th SFS augmentee class at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 25, 2018. Augmentees learned how to detain a suspect, clear a room, use oleoresin capsaicin (OC) spray, use a Taser, and received weapon qualifications on the M9 pistol and M4 carbine to provide defense capabilities for MacDill AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

Augmentees train on handcuff procedures during a 6th SFS augmentee class at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 25, 2018.

Augmentees train on handcuff procedures during a 6th SFS augmentee class at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 25, 2018. Augmentees learned to control a suspect by holding their index fingers together as a method of preventing escape or hostile maneuvers while placing handcuffs on. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- From the frontline gates to the streets within, security forces Airmen protect and defend a military installation.

For MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, the 6th Security Forces Squadron is that defensive force protecting more than 42,000 military personnel, family members and civilian employees.

However, in an emergency or contingency situation that requires a surge in manpower, MacDill turns to augmentees for additional support.

“The 6th Air Mobility Wing augmentee duty (AD) program is designed to train a pool of individuals to temporarily augment 6th AMW squadrons and agencies that will be short of required manpower during exercises, contingencies, wartime or emergency situations,” said Lt. Col. Brandon Leifer, the 6th Air Mobility Wing AD program manager.

In July, 15 augmentees from several wing agencies participated in the AD training program.

“Our augmentees learn a variety of necessary skillsets to perform basic security forces duties,” said Leifer. “They receive training in entry control point procedures, handcuffing procedures, crowd control, and must qualify with the M9 pistol and the M4 carbine.”

While not as in-depth as the 13-week technical school security forces Airmen receive, this training prepares augmentees to support MacDill’s specific base needs.

“Our augmentees provide a crucial service to our base,” said Staff Sgt. Jose Chamorro, a security forces trainer assigned to the 6th SFS. “They are eager to learn and work hard because they enjoy the change of pace from their regular day-to-day job.”

After training is complete, qualifications last for a year and in order to become an augmentee again, training and certification must be retaken annually. Receiving the most up-to-date training in security procedures and protocols is essential and therefore, MacDill takes the safety and training of its Airmen very seriously.

“I think it’s very important that augmentees get to experience the weapons that our security forces uses, which could save someone’s life,” said Senior Airman Adaina Mendoza, a bioenvironmental engineering technician assigned to the 6th Aerospace Medicine Squadron.

Mendoza is not a first-time AD volunteer and encourages other Airmen to give it a shot.

“I work in a medical office every day,” said Mendoza. “It is a great opportunity to get outside of the clinic and learn a skillset that defenders use while giving myself a perspective and understanding of an important career field in our society.”

Ultimately, training enhances readiness and whether it’s day or night, a weekday or a holiday, one thing is for certain; MacDill’s security forces and augmentee duty members train to defend this base and its people from any possible threat.