Part-time defender

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Danielle Quilla
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Strapping on second chance body armor, and arming up with a baton, M-16, and 120 rounds of 5.56 ammunition is not a usual procedure outside of the security forces career field. However, a wing-wide program offers qualified Airmen from any specialty the chance to do just that, and take watch over key strategic assets.

Each month the 6th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) holds initial training for selected members from each group of the 6th Air Mobility Wing (AMW) at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, to participate in the Security Forces Augmentee Program.

This program is designed to provide additional personnel to the 6th SFS to help with security needs for on-base accidents and increased force protection conditions, as well as during exercises and events like the Tampa Bay AirFest 2016.

"We train augmentees on tasks such as use of force, rules of engagement, communication procedures, searching and handcuffing, legal considerations and jurisdiction, security forces concepts and operation, and less than lethal tactics," said Staff Sgt. George Glover, 6th SFS training instructor.

The instructors provide demonstrations of the effects of non-lethal deterrents such as oleoresin capsicum, commonly known as pepper spray, as well as baton and Taser training to help the augmentees understand the effects these deterrents would have on an adversary. Each augmentee was also given the opportunity to experience first-hand how it feels to be tased.

"When it [the Taser] makes a good connection, you can't really move or control your body," said Senior Airman Bradley Tipton, security forces augmentee from the 6th AMW wing staff agencies. "You completely lock up, and it hurts. It is the longest 5 seconds ever, but as soon as it stops you're fine. No pain at all."

Once they have completed the training, the augmentees can be activated at any time to support the 6th AMW in a variety of missions.

"We want our augmentees to be mentally ready for any situation that may arise during their shift," said Glover.

Although physically demanding, some Airmen take it as an opportunity to get out of their work section and see a different part of the larger mission.

"It is a chance to contribute in a different way to the mission," said Senior Airman Brenton Thom, a security forces augmentee from the 6th Communication Squadron. "It can get tiring out there, but if you come prepared and the right state of mind, it can be liberating, like a breath of fresh air."

The augmentees were a key component to the success of the Tampa Bay AirFest 2016 event March 19-20.

"The AirFest is a way of showcasing all of the great work we do on MacDill, but with an open base, the risk of major incidents is always high," said Tech Sgt. Shannon Hutto, 6th SFS assistant NCO in charge of the training section.

Approximately 370 augmentees were trained in a variety of AirFest operations, such as major incident response procedures, directing traffic, crowd control, ramp security, and personnel search in preparation for the large crowds.

"In one specific situation, we reached max capacity for parking, and at that point people were only authorized to enter on foot without their vehicles," said Hutto. "We used augmentee support to create a barrier between the flightline and foot traffic at Dale Mabry Gate to prevent unauthorized entry or incidents."

Without the additional Airmen that the augmentee program provides, the 6th SFS members would be overwhelmed at events like the AirFest. Augmentees make it possible to ensure the security of the installation and the safety of its members.