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Year of the Defender: 50th Security Forces Squadron Training Flight keeps Defenders sharp

Tech. Sgt.  Jerald Harris, 50th Security Forces Squadron flight chief, challenges his motor skills by playing Jenga while using night vision goggles during a training session at the 50th SFS training facility at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, March 16, 2019. The 50th SFS training flight incorporated games as a way to increase training engagement and boost morale while meeting requirements.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster)

Tech. Sgt. Jerald Harris, 50th Security Forces Squadron flight chief, challenges his motor skills by playing Jenga while using night vision goggles during a training session at the 50th SFS training facility at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, March 16, 2019. The 50th SFS training flight incorporated games as a way to increase training engagement and boost morale while meeting requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster)

Tech. Sgt.  Jerald Harris, 50th Security Forces Squadron flight chief, checks under the hood of a vehicle during a training session at the 50th SFS training facility at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, March 16, 2019. The 50th SFS training flight conducts 216 hours of training are conducted annually for the base’s defenders.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster)

Tech. Sgt. Jerald Harris, 50th Security Forces Squadron flight chief, checks under the hood of a vehicle during a training session at the 50th SFS training facility at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, March 16, 2019. The 50th SFS training flight conducts 216 hours of training are conducted annually for the base’s defenders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster)

Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Williams, 50th Security Forces Squadron investigator, discovers contraband during a vehicle search training scenario at the 50th SFS training facility at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, March 16, 2019. The training flight uses a “crawl, walk, run” method for training sessions, a philosophical and practical approach to training used not only in the field, but classrooms as well.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster)

Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Williams, 50th Security Forces Squadron investigator, discovers contraband during a vehicle search training scenario at the 50th SFS training facility at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, March 16, 2019. The training flight uses a “crawl, walk, run” method for training sessions, a philosophical and practical approach to training used not only in the field, but classrooms as well. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster)

Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster --

The 50th Security Forces Squadron training flight advanced Air Force leadership’s “Year of the Defender” campaign by honing their skills to produce more lethal and professional Airmen.

The 50th SFS training flight makes sure defenders who protect those protecting the nation are as ready as the tools utilized in their mission.

 “Year of the Defender means taking a long hard look at accomplishments our career field has made and recognizing what is ahead and giving us what we need to take care of what the future holds,” said Master Sgt. Jeff Tomkiewicz, 50th SFS noncommissioned officer in charge of training.  

 “Our flight is charged with providing 216 hours of training annually, mandated by the Security Forces Center,” he said.  

Tomkiwicz said his flight goes beyond just meeting the standard, and seeks to exceed it.

The flight conducts courses such as use of force, shoot-no shoot scenarios and active shooter exercise. The trainers use a “crawl, walk, run” method; a philosophical and practical approach to training used not only in the field, but in classrooms as well.

“Some courses like active shooter are longer than others,” said Staff Sgt. Preston Morgan, 50th SFS lead trainer. “Through this process, we make sure our defenders are confident in what they are doing and actually get the tactics.”

Morgan said the benefit of the “crawl, walk, run” method is seen when defenders return for additional training.

“In the most recent course you saw who had been through the course and who had not,” he said. “Experienced defenders flowed through the course smoothly, were more on point and had less mistakes than our first timers.”

In addition to operations training, the training flight ensures defenders are prepared professionally.

“Our unit training manager, Staff Sgt. Michael Puckett, schedules formal training for our Airmen such as acts and investigations, seven level and more.” Tomkiewicz said. “We also have in-house courses we provide our defenders, such as resume writing and a College Level Examination Program preparation course, setting them up for success.”

Additionally, the 50th SFS training flight initiates educational pursuits. Tomkiewicz said new Airmen are coming in with more college experience than ever before.

“We have some of our trainers, Senior Airmen Ayanna Winters and Tyler Prine, making sure our incoming Airmen get their transcripts transferred over to the Community College of the Air Force,” he said. “A lot of them typically have a CCAF degree right off the bat because of their college experience prior to the Air Force,” said Tomkiewicz.

The training flight’s daily operations are filled with many challenges and expectations, in addition to preparing monthly training classes.

“Some days we prepare new members to conduct the mission here at Schriever,” Morgan said. “Other days we are running additional training courses or go out to defenders post and conduct training to prevent them from coming in on their time off as much as possible.”

In support of the 50th Space Wing’s priorities, the flight is constantly looking to innovate training, keeping members engaged, helping them learn.

“In order to guarantee our defenders are prepared for tomorrow’s engagements, we provide them with the right tactics, tools and warrior ethos mindset to overcome challenges and uncertainty they may face,” Tomkiewicz said.

Morgan said there’s much more to Security Forces than just checking ID’s and restricted area badges.

 “We are here to serve and protect all those on Schriever Air Force Base, and the assets assisting those deployed worldwide conducting missions to protect and preserve our way of life,” he said.

This article is the second part of a series highlighting the 50th Security Forces Squadron flights. See future issues of the Schriever Sentinel.

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