Training to be a security force airmen at Fairchild Air Force Base

For the US Air Force, 2019 is the Year of the Defender. It’s an initiative created to improve training for security force airmen. Their job is to protect themselves and the people around them, whether that’s at their home base or if they’re deployed.

You may know them as military police. To the public, you mainly see them at the base’s front gate, checking IDs. Inside the base, their job description entails a bit more. The training required to keep up, is extensive.

We learn by doing. I suited up and experienced just a piece of what more than 200 defense air men and women do for training at Fairchild Air Force Base.

“It’s a myriad of different law enforcement type of activities, but it’s not the same thing every single day,” said SMSGT. Joey Anderson, US Air Force.

Some days, that’s training on combat arms to make sure you are ready for anything, including chemical warfare. Airmen practice sharp shooting with a full suit of chemical gear, including a gas mask. When these defense airmen go into combat, there don’t know what’s in the air. They have to learn how to sharp shoot with a mask and all the gear. Most airmen have to go hours wearing the full suit.

“When we provide law enforcement capabilities, we want to make sure nobody gets hurt. We want to be sure we are applying force appropriately,” SMSGT Anderson said.

The US Air Force runs scenarios where they have to use their best judgment when their life is at stake.

For example, a traffic stop. What if it starts well, then the driver turned out to have a weapon. What do you to protect yourself? Sometimes, defense airmen have just seconds to make a choice.

“It’s important for protecting the folks here on the installation, the aircraft that we have, and some of the other resources and assets that we have,” SMSGT Anderson said.

Part of that team working in security forces is the military dog program, which the US Air Force manages. They’re trained to attack people posing a threat or fleeing from airmen. They’re trained to work and protect just like their partner.

“She has my 100% trust. Wherever they need us to go, I trust her capabilities 100%,” Christopher Maldonado, senior airman with the US Air Force.

These airmen said with more than 7,000 people working out of Fairchild AFB each day, being confident in each other is everything.