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Joint Base Andrews News

NEWS | Aug. 22, 2020

Pre-Ravens; success in the face of COVID-19

By Airman 1st Class Bridgitte Taylor 316th Wing Public Affairs

Nineteen Airmen from the 816th Security Forces Squadron completed the three-week, Fly-Away Security Team program nicknamed “The Pre-Raven” in  Washington, D.C., Aug. 21, 2020. 

The quarterly-held program, located at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, is required of security forces or military police members aspiring to perform duties on fly-away missions at JBA.

The course determines whether applicants can perform the Raven mission of providing discrete security that ensures protection for Air Force aircraft transiting airfields where security is unknown or deemed inadequate to counter local threats. 

The “Pre-Raven” course graduates gain their Fly-Away Security Team certification, along with ample preparations and skills for those who continue to the Air Mobility Command’s Phoenix Raven program at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. 

The program is readiness-focused, so participants are pushed through a series of arduous courses that train them on teamwork, leadership, Redman qualification fights, baton maneuvers and verbal judo.

However, readiness means adding health and safety protocols in the face of COVID-19. 

“COVID-19 has changed what we are able to do during training, and since it’s a vigorous course we try to stay socially distanced,” said Staff Sgt. Cody Manahan, 816th Security Forces Squadron executive aircraft security member and instructor. “When they have to be within 6 feet [of each other], we make sure they have their face masks on.”

Course instructors facilitated the heavy use of sanitizers, disinfectants, and face masks throughout the entirety of the program.

“When we’re using batons or training bags, we sanitize them between each person who uses them,” said Manahan. “For example, if Candidate A is using it and then it becomes Candidate B’s turn, it will be sprayed with sanitizer and wiped down with disinfectant wipes.”

Airmen also maintained a 6-foot distance during activities, exercises, and breaks. 

After a ceremonial and socially-distanced 6-mile run in the District of Columbia, the graduates stood proud as they were awarded their Fly-Away Security Team certificates. Along with the certificate, the Airmen are sufficiently prepared to continue their journey onward, whether it’s at JBA or the Phoenix Raven program at JBMDL. 

Although primarily trained in leadership and combatives, Airmen also had the chance to learn how to safely succeed in the face of COVID-19.