Safeguarding peace: Team effort, Team Misawa

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- The humidity smacks Airmen as they enter a room littered with foam rollers, grubby mats and nylon straps. Apprehensively, the group of Airmen remove their boots and walk to their assigned area on the large sweat-soaked, blue mats.

Simultaneously, another, more experienced security forces Airman dons a red, padded suit, and they know their time is coming to either counteract lethal jabs or find themselves face-first on the mat.

“I’ve never done any type of fighting—it was a rush,” said Airman 1st Class Kyle Henaire, a 35th Communications Squadron satellite communications journeyman, drenched in sweat, trying to catch his breath. “It got my heart racing, my breathing uneasy and I almost threw up.”

The red man challenge is just one training aspect the 35th Security Forces Squadron defenders teach potential augmentees during their monthly course.

“There’s different parts of the training; overall what people learn is how they’re going to react in a realistic scenario,” said Senior Airman Johnathan Rogers, a 35th SFS unit training scheduler. “Airmen may have never been in a fight or a stressful scenario like that before and this training shows them how they will react.”

Airmen from numerous career fields receive valuable security training in order to defend the base.

“I gained a better understanding and valuable knowledge on security tactics and procedures,” said Henaire. “The appreciation for what our brave defenders do on a daily basis is huge. Training techniques and physical stamina are very much needed to be a defender.”

This training embraces Team Misawa’s motto, “fight tonight,” ensuring people, assets and equipment remain protected at any moment, anywhere. The security forces augmentees learn how they could react in various scenarios, ultimately creating a larger pool of readied defenders.

“It’s for exercise purposes, real-world scenarios and daily use,” Rogers explained. “This course sums up basic tasks we conduct so when augmentees assist us, they have an idea of what they are doing.”

Augmentee duties pull people from different squadrons across the base to support the 35th SFS. Airmen undergo security forces concepts, operations, weapons safety, use of lethal or non-lethal force, communication procedures, handcuffing, vehicle searches and any other tasks augmentees may encounter on-duty.

“Generally, nobody has any idea what we do or how we do things,” said Rogers. “This training bolsters base security by enabling Airmen to learn new and useful tactics. In a way, they would be able to help at any time and always be ready, even if at their day-by-day job a situation arose.”

This preparation is very hands on, therefore, there is an increased chance of memory in the tasks and procedures learned for the future. The training deepens base security while teaching Airmen valuable skills in security and vigilance.

“That’s just a minute with us,” said Rogers. “Realistic fights could go on a lot longer and be more violent than us just using our techniques. I think mentally, this training prepares them for what they may encounter and gives them a few techniques with a sense of success while walking away.”

As the day comes to an end, Airmen exit the sweaty gym are instantly greeted with fresh, clean air. Their uniforms dripping with success, they walk away with a sense of accomplishment. Although they came from different jobs across the base, Airmen who completed the course formed new bonds and got a glimpse of a 35th SFS member’s life.