WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Trained and skilled airmen are critical to national defense, according to AFPAM 36-2241, "The Professional Development Guide."
Whiteman's defenders contribute to America's safety 24/7 and are trained by a steadfast team of experts. They have a responsibility for ensuring all members of the 509th Security Forces Squadron have the knowledge and skills necessary for defending stealth firepower, protection-level resources and the Whiteman community.
Airman 1st Class Steven Adler, 509th Security Forces Squadron response force member, looks down his iron sights to scan his area of responsibility during a training exercise at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., April 16, 2013. Exercises prepare security forces members to respond to real-world threats at a moment's notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)
“We provide training for everyone from the squadron commander to airmen fresh out of technical school,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Krivitza, 509th Security Forces Squadron Phase I trainer. “Regardless of rank or experience, everyone in our squadron must be trained on the duties that are specific to Whiteman because we have a very unique mission.”
The 509th SFS employs three noncommissioned officers and two civilians, who ensure training tasks are accomplished. Since SFS airmen are on post around the clock, trainers are constantly adjusting their schedules to accommodate different flights.
“We don't have the hours that most office jobs have because our mission doesn't take place in a normal work week,” said Tech. Sgt. Jason Douglass, 509th Security Forces trainer. “Some days we could be here from sun up to sun down and we also have people working at night. There is also training that we have to provide during our off-time, so we work crazy hours all the time.”
A major part of being in the Air Force is being on call at all times, especially in the security forces career field, said Krivitza.
“I've been doing this long enough to know that my off-duty time can be taken at any given moment, so I'm prepared for it,” Krivitza said. “I'd rather offset my schedule for airmen to learn their job than have them stay late after working a full 12-hour night shift. I can change my schedule easier than they can change theirs.”
Not only will airmen benefit from knowledge imparted to them by the trainers, but the entire base and country benefit from the service defenders provide, said Douglass.
“In addition to the squadron benefiting from the mission readiness we support on every level, America benefits on the bigger, global picture from our training, because we're mission-ready and we protect America's assets,” Douglass said. “As we protect the B-2, America benefits from that security blanket all of our SF members provide day and night.”
Providing training on security and law enforcement also means ensuring training material is current, said Krivitza.
“We want to give them the latest and greatest training we can as it comes down from Air Force Global Strike Command,” Krivitza said. “Providing troops with the most recent information allows them to be more prepared. For example, the use of force regulation just changed. So we give that information to all of our airmen and make sure they understand the changes that were made.”
Douglass and Krivitza train airmen on entry breaching techniques, law enforcement training, active shooter exercises, convoy operations and major accident response exercises, just to name a few.
“Anything we do in our career field is involved in a training task,” Douglass said. “All pieces of the security forces puzzle, including weapons, tactics, vehicle maneuvers, traffic stops, hand cuffing, searching, building sweeps and protecting resources, have tasks associated. There are certain tasks and critical certifications that all of our people must have. We develop, track and implement those into our daily training plan so they can protect the resources and people on base.”
The large number of tasks and certifications can be difficult and overwhelming for most airmen who are new to the security forces career field, said Krivitza.
“A lot of airmen come into the military right out of high school and are working 14-hour shifts, 16-hour shifts and sometimes even longer shifts,” Krivitza said. “Getting them in the mindset that they're always on call and keeping them mentally prepared for what they are going to encounter is a big part of our job.”
When it comes to security, defenders need to be prepared to handle any real-world situation they may face, Kravitza said.
“Having the training not only refreshes the minds of SFS members, but it helps build the muscle memory they need to complete the steps of each task,” Kravitza said. “If a real emergency takes place, they can refer back to their training.”
More photos available below
By USAF Staff Sgt. Nicholas Wilson
Provided through DVIDS
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