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Pre-Raven; Do you have what it takes?

Staff Sgt. Brian Sollis, 811th Security Forces Squadron executive aircraft security member and instructor, leads an exercise during Fly-Away Security Team training, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Feb. 24, 2017. This quarterly-held course determines whether applicants can perform the Raven mission of providing discrete, low‐visibility security that ensures protection for Air Force aircraft transiting airfields where security is unknown or deemed inadequate to counter local threats. This includes training in the realm of teamwork, leadership, legal considerations, Redman qualification fights, baton maneuvers and verbal judo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter)

Staff Sgt. Brian Sollis, 811th Security Forces Squadron executive aircraft security member and instructor, leads an exercise during Fly-Away Security Team training, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Feb. 24, 2017. This quarterly-held course determines whether applicants can perform the Raven mission of providing discrete, low‐visibility security that ensures protection for Air Force aircraft transiting airfields where security is unknown or deemed inadequate to counter local threats. This includes training in the realm of teamwork, leadership, legal considerations, Redman qualification fights, baton maneuvers and verbal judo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter)

Staff Sgt. Damien Hernandez, 811th Security Forces Squadron executive aircraft security member and instructor, ensures Fly-Away Security Team training participants have their mouth guards at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Feb. 24, 2017. The course, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” occurred from Feb. 13 to March 2, where security forces and military police military members were trained to perform fly-away mission duties at JBA. Ravens are specially trained security forces personnel who provide executive aircraft security to Air Force assets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter)

Staff Sgt. Damien Hernandez, 811th Security Forces Squadron executive aircraft security member and instructor, ensures Fly-Away Security Team training participants have their mouth guards at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Feb. 24, 2017. The course, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” occurred from Feb. 13 to March 2, where security forces and military police military members were trained to perform fly-away mission duties at JBA. Ravens are specially trained security forces personnel who provide executive aircraft security to Air Force assets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter)

Senior Airman Julio Camacho, Fly-Away Security Team training participant, performs a baton maneuver during the training course, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Feb. 24, 2017. Camacho and nine other Airmen and Soldiers took the first step to becoming Fly-Away Security Team certified and moving on to possibly earning the title of “Phoenix Raven” during this course. Ravens are specially trained security forces personnel who provide executive aircraft security to Air Force assets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter)

Senior Airman Julio Camacho, Fly-Away Security Team training participant, performs a baton maneuver during the training course, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Feb. 24, 2017. Camacho and nine other Airmen and Soldiers took the first step to becoming Fly-Away Security Team certified and moving on to possibly earning the title of “Phoenix Raven” during this course. Ravens are specially trained security forces personnel who provide executive aircraft security to Air Force assets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter)

Senior Airman Emilio Contreras, Fly-Away Security Team training participant, prepares for a Redman qualification fight at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Feb. 24, 2017. This quarterly-held course determines whether applicants can perform the Raven mission of providing discrete, low‐visibility security that ensures protection for Air Force aircraft transiting airfields where security is unknown or deemed inadequate to counter local threats. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter)

Senior Airman Emilio Contreras, Fly-Away Security Team training participant, prepares for a Redman qualification fight at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Feb. 24, 2017. This quarterly-held course determines whether applicants can perform the Raven mission of providing discrete, low‐visibility security that ensures protection for Air Force aircraft transiting airfields where security is unknown or deemed inadequate to counter local threats. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter)

Senior Airman Julio Camacho, Fly-Away Security Team training participant, fights the Redman during the training course, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Feb. 24, 2017. The course provides development for military members in one of two ways: Army and Air Force participants can either earn a Fly-Away Security Team certification, which permits them to perform Raven-like duties at strictly JBA, whereas Air Force participants may advance to the official Raven school earning authorization to perform the unique security mission throughout the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter)

Senior Airman Julio Camacho, Fly-Away Security Team training participant, fights the Redman during the training course, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Feb. 24, 2017. The course provides development for military members in one of two ways: Army and Air Force participants can either earn a Fly-Away Security Team certification, which permits them to perform Raven-like duties at strictly JBA, whereas Air Force participants may advance to the official Raven school earning authorization to perform the unique security mission throughout the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter)

Tech. Sgt. Channing Pompa, 811th Security Forces Squadron executive aircraft security team leader, right, talks to Senior Airman Paul Pfenning, Fly-Away Security Team training participant, left, after a Redman fight during Fly-Away Security Team training, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Feb. 24, 2017. This quarterly-held course determines whether applicants can perform the Raven mission of providing discrete, low‐visibility security that ensures protection for Air Force aircraft transiting airfields where security is unknown or deemed inadequate to counter local threats. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter)

Tech. Sgt. Channing Pompa, 811th Security Forces Squadron executive aircraft security team leader, right, talks to Senior Airman Paul Pfenning, Fly-Away Security Team training participant, left, after a Redman fight during Fly-Away Security Team training, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Feb. 24, 2017. This quarterly-held course determines whether applicants can perform the Raven mission of providing discrete, low‐visibility security that ensures protection for Air Force aircraft transiting airfields where security is unknown or deemed inadequate to counter local threats. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter)

Participants of Fly-Away Security Team training, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” practice verbal judo at Joint Base Andrews, Md., March 1, 2017. On this day, Pre-Raven trainees practiced verbal judo, which is an important skill for Ravens to use to deescalate a situation without the use of physical force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Participants of Fly-Away Security Team training, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” practice verbal judo at Joint Base Andrews, Md., March 1, 2017. On this day, Pre-Raven trainees practiced verbal judo, which is an important skill for Ravens to use to deescalate a situation without the use of physical force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Staff Sgt. Brian Sollis, 811th Security Forces Squadron executive aircraft security NCO and instructor, gives directions during the Fly-Away Security Team training, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” at Joint Base Andrews, Md., March 1, 2017. On this day, Pre-Raven trainees practiced verbal judo, which is an important skill for Ravens to use to deescalate a situation without the use of physical force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Staff Sgt. Brian Sollis, 811th Security Forces Squadron executive aircraft security NCO and instructor, gives directions during the Fly-Away Security Team training, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” at Joint Base Andrews, Md., March 1, 2017. On this day, Pre-Raven trainees practiced verbal judo, which is an important skill for Ravens to use to deescalate a situation without the use of physical force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Fly-Away Security Team trainees jog to their designated training location at Joint Base Andrews, Md., March 1, 2017. This day focused on verbal judo, which is an important skill for Ravens to use to deescalate a situation without the use of physical force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Fly-Away Security Team trainees jog to their designated training location at Joint Base Andrews, Md., March 1, 2017. This day focused on verbal judo, which is an important skill for Ravens to use to deescalate a situation without the use of physical force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Fly-Away Security Team graduates and instructors pose for a photo at Joint Base Andrews, Md., March 2, 2017.  Fly-Away Security Team training, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” lasted for three weeks and included training about legal considerations, Redman qualification, baton maneuvers and verbal judo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)
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Fly-Away Security Team graduates and instructors pose for a photo at Joint Base Andrews, Md., March 2, 2017. Fly-Away Security Team training, nicknamed “Pre-Raven,” lasted for three weeks and included training about legal considerations, Redman qualification, baton maneuvers and verbal judo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --  

Battle cries pierce the air as 10 Army and Air Force security forces and military police members perform baton maneuvers in unison to the beat of their instructor’s orders.

 

These Airmen and Soldiers have taken the first step to becoming Fly-Away Security Team certified and possibly moving on to earning the title of “Phoenix Raven,” specially trained security forces personnel who provide aircraft security to Air Force assets across the globe at unsecure airfields.

 

From Feb. 13 to March 2, they’ve dedicated their time and efforts to completing the course, nicknamed “Pre-Raven.” The course is required of security forces or military police members aspiring to perform duties on fly-away missions at Joint Base Andrews.

 

“We want to know if they’re capable of completing the Raven mission under physical and mental pressure,” said Staff Sgt. Damien Hernandez, 811th Security Forces Squadron executive aircraft security member and instructor. “They have to be capable of doing it at the highest proficiency and be able to compete against those in our section.”

 

This quarterly-held course determines whether applicants are adept at the mission by preparing them for physical and mental tasks. Specific training curriculum includes coverage of teamwork, leadership, legal considerations, Redman qualification fights, baton maneuvers and verbal judo.

 

“We focus on the concept of teamwork, because something as simple as collapsible baton training has to be consistent so everyone is on the same page in regards to physical restraint,” Hernandez said. “If one person uses more force than necessary than the next person, there’s a huge lack in training and teamwork in there that shows that not everybody is on the same page.”

 

This overall theme of joint effort has slowly brought the team of trainees together and created a sense of unity between them.

 

“You could tell when we first got in there that everyone was apprehensive about working with one another, but we have since grown a brotherhood,” said Private First Class Micah Smith, 289th Police Company military police member and Fly-Away Security Team training participant. “The team bonding experience has just been amazing.”

 

Although the ultimate decision for who is accepted to the JBA program is made by the instructors here, some general prerequisites for attending the training include being either a security forces or military police member, receiving a 90 percent or above on the Air Force physical fitness test, have a record of good behavior, and receiving permission from their unit to participate.

 

Performance rating during Pre-Raven is scored based on a three-point system with the categories of participation, motivation and attitude.

 

For some participants, succeeding at this course is the start to living out one of their major career objectives.

 

“Becoming a Raven was my main drive coming out of technical school, so once I got here and made friends with some people in the Raven section, it really opened my eyes to how much I wanted to do this,” said Senior Airman William Schuld, 811th Security Forces Squadron area supervisor and Fly-Away Security Team training participant. “It’s not just a far-off goal anymore, it’s something I can do.”

 

The course provides development for military members in one of two ways: Army and Air Force participants can either earn a Fly-Away Security Team certification, which permits them to perform Raven-like duties at strictly JBA, whereas Air Force participants may advance to the official Raven school at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, earning authorization to perform the unique mission throughout the world.

 

There are a limited number of slots available for the official Raven course each quarter, so some participants aren’t able to move forward, but still walk away with the JBA certification.

 

These Airmen and Soldiers made the choice to face the challenge of becoming part of the Fly-Away Security Team or Raven brotherhood, taking a leap toward their goal.

 

“I’m most looking forward to when this journey finally comes full circle for me,” Schuld said. “When all the screaming, push-ups and flutter kicks are over with, I’ll be able to look back at everything and say, ‘That was worth it.’”

 

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