Security Forces go south for training

  • Published
  • By Capt. James Robinson
  • 183rd Security Forces
The 183rd Security Forces Squadron deployed for training (DFT) to Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, Jan. 9-23. The purpose of the DFT was to conduct SFS combat training at a southern tier active duty base so members could take advantage of a milder climate and active duty resources. Unfortunately for us, however, the entire Florida panhandle was experiencing the longest cold streak it had seen in over 20 years! However, we didn't have any complaints because the climate was definitely better than what Illinois was experiencing.

We arrived on a Saturday afternoon, got into our on-base billets, hit the chow hall, and prepared for the next day's training schedule. The training was intense, but the Security Forces defenders would not have it any other way. Even with the many bumps and bruises (unfortunately, we also had one broken bone), the feedback received by the team was overwhelmingly positive. I have learned over the years that SF defenders enjoy performing strenuous training that is relevant and prepares them for the unique challenges the SF career field faces - this DFT was no different. For this DFT, SF defenders received training in HAZMAT first responder, Lautenberg Act, blood borne pathogens, self-aid buddy care, use of force, introduction to knife defense, knife defense, ASP and OC (ASP is a brand name for a collapsible baton, oleoresin capsicem is OC) recertification training, introduction to intermediate weapons use, empty handed /expandable baton take downs, and ground avoidance/escape techniques. All of this training is vital for SF defenders as they perform their duties, both here and abroad.

Training topics such as knife defense, ground avoidance/escape, ASP and OC, may sound foreign, but they are important skills that SF defenders may have to use to protect oneself or others. For instance, knife defense training is law enforcement /civil disturbance based training that covers defensive tactics for peace keepers during a close proximity, edged weapon assaults. This training also includes instruction regarding how to disarm an armed assailant as well as how to get the assailant into a position to be detained. The ground avoidance/ground escape training covers tactics regarding how to avoid being taken to the ground by an assailant, and how to get off the ground should you be taken down. ASP and OC are commonly referred to as batons and pepper spray. These two items are additional tools located in the SF defender's tool bag that provides them with additional less than lethal force options at their disposal.

The DFT culminated in practical scenarios which included responding to calls for assistance to incidents such as fights in progress, domestic assault, suicidal subjects, and loud noise complaints. Scenarios required the responding officers to use good verbal skills to deescalate the situation, go "hands-on" with the offender, or a combination of both. During the scenarios, students were evaluated on maintaining reactionary gap, situational awareness, verbal communication skills, and the ability to move through all levels of the Use of Force model.

The team trained very hard, took the training serious, and are undoubtedly better prepared to defeat threats associated with SF duties both in-garrison and while deployed. Morale was high throughout the entire deployment and members stated this was the best DFT they had experienced. In short, the team trained hard, camaraderie grew, esprit de corps was strengthened, and SF defenders are better prepared today to meet the threats associated with their duties.