After months of planning and preparation, members of the 435th Security Forces Squadron initiated the new U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Fly Away Security program and had its first class of graduates April 18 on Ramstein.
The 10-day predeployment course is designed to teach security forces Airmen how to keep aircraft and aircrew safe in austere locations.
“The course is separated into several different blocks,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Karas, 435th SFS senior instructor.
“There are classroom and hands-on portions, demonstrations, a field training exercise and evaluations. Everything they learn here is to help them protect the Air Force’s multimillion dollar aircraft and the personnel operating those aircraft.”
To protect assets, students learned a variety of skills including weapon takeaway techniques, combatives, cross-culture communication and legal considerations.
“The course really put what we’re going to be doing when we deploy into perspective,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Friend, 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron installation patrolman. “The instructors made it as realistic as possible. They taught us what to expect in the regions we’ll be in, the kind of people we might encounter and how we need to handle situations.”
In order to give the students a better understanding of what their missions might be, they spent time on the flight line during the aircraft familiarization portion, getting to know the ins and outs of a C-130J Super Hercules.
“Going out to the C-130 and seeing exactly what we’re going to be working on was the best day,” said Airman 1st Class Cameron Triboulet, 569th USFPS security forces member. “The training wouldn’t be complete without it. I feel much more confident now than I did at the beginning.”
The students weren’t the only ones who learned from the experience. Having the first group of Airmen go through the revamped course gave instructors insight on how to improve the program.
“This beta class was an eye opener,” Karas said. “The students did daily critiques on every single block of instruction, giving us an idea of what we need to spend more or less time on. That feedback from them is an important part in improving the course.”
The course is designed to receive feedback from these Airmen halfway through deployments, letting instructors know what they’re experiencing during operations and how future students can be better prepared.
With the training and knowledge from the FAS course, the graduates are now ready to be deployed throughout Europe and Africa, guarding aircrew and aircraft.