Feature Search

736th SFS Airmen put verbal judo to the test

  • Published
  • By Airman Whitney Amstutz
  • 36th Public Affairs
Twenty-six Airmen from the 736th Security Forces Squadron received specialized Fly-Away Security Training on the flightline when a team from Pacific Air Forces visited Andersen Aug. 2-6.

The training is a localized version of the Phoenix Raven program, which deals with the support and defense of aircraft in austere locations. The Airmen learned how to use communication as a means of deescalating situations, as opposed to weaponry, a practice often referred to as verbal judo.

"Right now we're doing airfield security and close-in security," said Tech. Sgt. James Howard, Fly-Away Security program manager from PACAF headquarters. "What they're doing is surveying the parking ramp, assessing lighting and any avenues of approach that may be a threat."

In addition to learning advanced security techniques, role-players tested 736th Airmen on their ability to improvise and act thoughtfully in situations that do not allow a lot of time for decision making. During these scenarios, the Airmen learned which situations can be handled with words and a level head, and which require a show of force and capability.

"We're also conducting scenarios for the use of force," Sergeant Howard said. "Ranging anywhere from level one: a compliant individual who's just curious, to level five: we have no choice but to diffuse the hostel threat. We act out a variety of scenarios that cover the whole spectrum of involvement. What we're doing is assessing their verbal judo skills and verbal manipulation skills; seeing if they can talk us down and talk us away from the aircraft."

In many countries today, on-location aircraft security is non-existent. Therefore, the Fly-Away Security program has become an integral part of the Air Force mission.

"Often times, we find ourselves in a foreign land and we don't have the same jurisdiction that we do at stateside bases," Sergeant Howard said. "We don't have the red-line restricted area where we can put someone down, escort them out and find out if they're good to go. In these places, they can literally get up in front of the air craft. What we're trying to do is get them as far away as we can without putting our hands on them.'"

After training, Airmen will be able to provide optimum security while maintaining a low profile.

"They're trying to do discreet, low visibility security," Sergeant Howard said. "In most of the countries that we're visiting we're not allowed to take weapons off the air craft. So what we're trying to do is push the buffer out to meet them before they come up to the aircraft."

Sergeant Howard and his three-man team are traveling throughout PACAF providing Fly-Away training to the four bases with flight-based missions: Yokota Air Force Base, Japan, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, Elemendorf Air Force Base, Alaska and Andersen.

"Localizing the training allows us to train a lot more people," Sergeant Howard said. "Before, candidates had to fly to the states. This allows us to get a lot more bang for our buck."

Not only is the program economical, Airmen who participated gained a wealth of knowledge and hands-on interaction.

Airman 1st Class, Steven Young, a member of the 736th SFS, found the techniques to be helpful and effective.

"I am responsible for guarding my sector and making sure no one that's not supposed to be near the air craft gets in," Airman Young said. "I've learned to react when someone approaches and act accordingly. A lot of the time, all you need to use is verbal judo. I definitely think this is something I will use in the future, probably sooner than later."