The intense USAF qualification course ensures only the most qualified Security Forces Airmen become Ravens.
When fully trained, Ravens are air marshals on the ground who deploy with aircrew members on missions designated by the AMC Threat Working Group. Raven teams protect aircraft and their crews and cargo from criminal and terrorist threats while traveling through airfields where security is either unknown or inadequate.
The Air Force has fewer than 150 active Ravens executing AMC’s force protection of strategic airlift around the world. The intense qualification course ensures the select few who become Ravens are of an exceptional caliber.
Inside the training facility, everyone who has gone through will cringe at the thought of the “house of pain” and its not about pancakes. This is where all trainees do the majority of physical training. Physical training consists of calisthenics and fighting the Redman. The trainees are taught basic hand to hand skills for fighting unarmed and with a baton.
One of the biggest challenges in the “house of pain” for the cadres is to teach the trainee how to fight within the three week course. Having intestinal fortitude can go a long way, but without the tools its hard to gain confidence. The cadres help with the missing tools, but the biggest thing that you’ll learn is to go beyond your physical limitations. It’s when you can’t do any more push-ups (over 1,000 per day) or flutter kicks and now you have to pit against a fresh Redman. Doesn’t sound fair, but in reality it teaches the trainee to think so they can overcome real-world decisions while down-range.
You’re not here to watch a fight, this ain’t UFC, you’re in here to motivate each-other and keep each-other going. HOOAH. The only time I want to hear a ‘Hooah’ is if one of your classmates deliver the proper strike. Until then, you’re gonna tell them what they’re doing wrong. Squared away, candidates?
“These last nine days of training have…”
Can we do a proper push up?
Just because I walk away doesn’t mean you get on your freaking knees, you.
“I can’t even think of a word to describe it.”
Take a seat and you can go home today.
“Not only overwhelming, but…”
Hey, straighten your legs, let’s go!
“Stressful. Very stressful.”
We’ll be here all freakin’ day, Ravens, sound off.”
“The biggest thing I look for in each trainee is heart. We can build muscle, we can make them stronger, we can make them faster. But at the end of the day, if a Raven comes here without any heart, then they’re useless to the program and our community as a whole.”
“US Air Marshals are the ones that protect that aircraft in the air. We’re the ones that protect the aircraft on the ground. We go to a lot of hostile environments all over the world. So we put students through a course that is high intensity, to better prepare them for situations they might encounter downrange.”
“So we try to build tat austere, adverse environment in our training, with the PT, the discipline that we bring into the course.”
“If you even get caught blinking in class, not paying attention for a second, they’re on you. They know, they’re always watching. That’s what will prepare us for downrange. You let your guard down for a minute down there, and it could cost you lives.”
For some of these guys and gals, this will be the first time ever getting hit in the head, or getting touched, period. Make sure you try to make it as realistic as possible, but at the same rate- this isn’t a bar fight.
“It was beyond what I thought it was gonna be. They had a red man in each corner, they brought us in with a big circle and pads, and they come at you hard. There was mouthpieces flying, headgear coming off, black eyes, bloody noses, they came at us hard. Reason being is, when we’re downrange and we’re fighting, nobody is gonna take it easy. It’s either him or me, and that’s how it’s gonna be. And if he gets me, that’s not gonna stop him from getting what I’m supposed to protect, which is other personnel and the aircraft. It started off bad for me. My initial fight, I wasn’t doing some of the techniques correctly, so it came down to basically my last fight, either do it right or go home.”
I hate to say this, this is probably the worst part of my job, but you all did not pass your RedMan. So go home, go back to your units…
“To see an individual dig deep, and you see them push through it, you hear them scream, you see the sweat, you see the tears, it feels good to see people push through those hardships, and then to see them walk across the stage knowing they earned their Raven number.”
“I feel like the turning point when we became a team was after that RedMan fight. Everyone came together and we realized that we can’t get through this alone.”
“I look back and it was one of the defining moments of my life. One of the biggest accomplishments ever. Absolutely surreal.
[su_heading size=”30″]Fly-away security teams guard planes, crews on high-risk flights[/su_heading]
THE FOLLOWING IS A MEDIA RELEASE FROM THE STARS AND STRIPES
The military branch USAF is unique when it comes to job specialty (MOS), force protection back in the old days of guarding an aircraft was different. The Air Police would just issue a rifle to an airman to guard the aircraft or resources. Fast forward to modern day, the ‘Air Police’ name progressed to Security Police and finally ‘Security Forces’. With recent conflicts USAF Security Forces have had to adjust and expand its role in the terrorist war. One of them is the Fly-Away Security Team, also known as ‘FAST’. These hand picked elite USAF Security Forces members are also part of the USAF Phoenix Ravens unit, you can see one of our past stories on the USAF Ravens here.
USAF Fly-Away Security Teams (FAST) are staged out of many undisclosed places in the European and Far West Asian theaters. The FAST team provides security for the aircraft while at a hot (high threat) location. And while in-flight responsible for deterring and neutralizing any threats on board the aircraft. The least known responsibility is to collect intelligences of the air strip and surrounding areas from local resources. The skills required to perform as a FAST operative is wide in range from marksmanships, Foreign Clearance Guide Advisor, SERE to diplomatic relations with host nations.
Now to our featured story:
The two craned their necks and swiveled their heads, checking the fast-approaching ground below through the bank of cockpit windows. Soon joining them in this ritual was Staff Sgt. Thomas Tyrone, 26, a member of the late September mission’s Fly-Away Security Team, or FAST.
In teams of two to four, the “air marshals of Afghanistan,” as one member calls them, guard the flight deck from potential hijackers on certain flights and provide added perimeter security around the aircraft while parked at high-risk airfields like Shorab.
On the ground, the team is responsible for keeping asylum-seekers at bay and fending off attackers long enough for the pilots to get the turboprop-powered Super Hercules airborne, even if that means the team stays behind.
Their added combat training and firepower — M-4 rifles, compared with the aircrew’s 9 mm handguns — are a comfort “when you’re someplace sketchy,” said Capt. Michael Morrison, Svendsen’s co-pilot. See original story below.