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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | Sept. 6, 2013

Grey Geese Teach USAPAT Soldiers Aircraft Security Tactics

By Airman 1st Class Joshua R. M. Dewberry 11th Wing Public Affairs

Recently, five United States Army Soldiers, who support the U.S. Army Priority Air Transport unit, graduated Sept. 6 from the Fly Away Security Team course that took place here from Aug. 22 - Sept. 6.

The course, led by the 811th Security Forces Squadron, instructs soldiers how to secure aircraft in austere environments and was modeled after the Air Force Phoenix Raven Qualification course at Fort Dix, N.J.

"We had two main goals for the Soldiers going into this training," said Staff Sgt. Colin Meizel, 811th SFS Executive Aircraft Security Raven instructor. "The first goal was to impart our knowledge of aircraft security, while the second was to stress the importance of physical fitness and its relationship to mission readiness."

Along with these goals, the course also taught Soldiers ambassadorship and mission execution.

"I found out I had orders to come to this course the week before we started, but I'm learning a lot and taking advantage of this opportunity," said Army Staff Sgt. Jose Diaz, 4th Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment squad leader.

Meizel, along with raven course graduates Tech. Sgt. Sherome Ferrell, Staff Sgt. Quintin Clark and Senior Airman Joshua Oliveira-Martin of the 811th SFS EAS, taught this modified pre-raven course to meet the needs of the soldiers, according to Ferrell.

The soldiers admitted this was the most physically demanding course they had done thus far.

"The PT is night and day," said Meizel. "We'll start with a low number of repetitive physical exercises that the soldiers think are actually high, and soon build upon that number to push their limits."

"I've had security details in the past, but nothing as difficult as the pre-raven course," said Diaz. "At first, I didn't understand why they made us do PT so hard from day one. Now I get it; all of this effort teaches your body to go past its limit and allows you to gradually adjust."

The Soldiers' training days started off with a three-hour morning PT sessions.

"We all have limits, but sometimes you just gotta keep going," said Diaz. "When it hurts, take one or two breaths, keep pushing, and soon you'll see yourself going beyond what you thought you could before. It takes endurance and pride in knowing you did better than yesterday."

As the days continued, the soldiers were trained to secure aircraft for global transportation for the Army's leadership, to include the Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff.

"The soldiers learned more specific skills with verbal judo (deescalating the situation without physical violence) and to control the conversation," said Meizel. "We've also taught aircraft familiarization such as what the jet looks like, where they set up on it and the easiest way to do aircraft security."

He also said that this was the first all Soldier course, which allowed instructors to focus specifically on Army aircraft security procedures while employing Phoenix Raven tactics.

Aside from physical training, the course included baton training, weapons takeaways, anti-terrorism briefings and lessons on cross-cultural communication. Weapons takeaway training was a major focus during the course.

The main goal of weapons takeaway is to unarm an armed attacker, according to Ferrell. Weapons such as the M9 pistol, M4 carbine assault rifle, ASP Baton (Armament Systems and Procedures), and knives were used for training, according to Ferrell.

"I will definitely take everything I learned here and bring it back with me to my base," said Army Sgt. Myles Covington, 212th Military Police Detachment patrol supervisor. "The lessons were all about attention to detail, determination and physical training."