Defenders Teaching Defenders
by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Alexcia Givens
January 5, 2023
Instructing students is a very different side to security forces. Instructors for the 435th Security Forces Squadron create an environment that makes learning and sharing knowledge accessible.
The 435th SFS deals primarily with contingency response and deployment operations.
“Learning the combat side of our career field is different,” said Staff Sgt Randy Uyehara, 435th Security Forces Squadron ground combat readiness training instructor. “But it's great knowledge. I'm just excited to be a part of the team to teach others.”
Currently, 16 instructors at the 435th Security Forces squadron teach multiple courses to defenders for the United States Air Forces in Europe.
U.S. Air Force Robert Aube, 435th Security Forces Squadron instructor, helps a student position his shot at Breitenwald Training Area, Germany on August 18, 2022. This year, the squadron is projected to host several courses, including eight ACDC courses, quarterly NSTLC courses, Tactical Automated Security Systems, and Air Force Combatives programs courses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexcia Givens)
“I’ve always had a passion for teaching,” Uyehara said. “I wanted to give back to the younger folks. All the knowledge I have from the past and as a noncommissioned officer, I want to give them.”
The instructors teach four main courses: Air Force Combatives, Agile Combat Defender Course, Nuclear Security Tactical Leaders Course and Tactical Automated Security Systems.
This year, the squadron is projected to host several courses, including eight ACDC courses, quarterly NSTLC courses, Tactical Automated Security Systems and Air Force Combatives programs courses.
When students take these courses, they can expect to receive an understanding of basic base operations which are expanded upon when they arrive at their assignment.
“We are motivated,” said Staff Sgt. Nikolas Huffman, 435th Security Forces Squadron ground combat readiness training instructor. “We need them to be just as motivated. If they understand the knowledge, the course is much more fun, and we can give them more advanced training.”
These courses could be the difference between life and death for defenders, so they need to understand how to react to any situation appropriately.
“When students leave our courses, I want them to take it down range and apply to any situation they may be faced with,” said Uyehara. “It’s also something I want them to take back to their home station and teach to other defenders.”
During the course, instructors work with many students, who have their own experiences and are in an environment where that knowledge is valued and encouraged to share.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Stephan Buesing, 435th Security Force Squadron instructor, provides critics for a student at Breitenwald Training Area, Germany, August 18, 2022. The 435th contingency response mission is to execute contingency response, construction, expeditionary training, and building partnership capacity missions for three Combatant Commanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexcia Givens)
During a TDY to Guam, Huffman instructed an ACDC course. One student during the training was very knowledgeable about counter-small unmanned aerial aircraft systems. The student, from a small base in Dyess, Texas, had more first-hand experience. Huffman was taught how to fly and operate different drones. Huffman learned more from the student, and the student helped out throughout the course.
“I haven’t done everything in our career field, so when we have students come in, they always have input on their experience, their level of expertise and they teach that to both the students and the instructors,” said Uyehara. “Knowledge is key, so I’m passing on the knowledge to others.”
The 435th SFS instructors take pride in knowing that the men and women they train will one day experience many similar events to what they have or even work side-by-side during future engagements.
When course chiefs get notice of a new class, months of planning for the course starts. Tasks are delegated to instructors in preparation. Then, instructors ensure students have all the tools they’ll need to succeed.
“I love teaching these kids because I’ve been downrange when something happens,” said Huffman. “I want them to leave prepared. That's what value I get out of this.”
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