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154 SFS drills in Gulfport Mississippi, charges for Patriot South

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman John Linzmeier
  • 154th Wing Public Affairs
Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard 154th Security Forces Squadron spent their drill weekend practicing new apprehension and self-defense techniques with other law enforcement professionals Feb. 10-11 at Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Mississippi to certify in Taser training and a Combative Knife Fighting certification course.

The classes were led by agents from the Mississippi Military Law Enforcement Department and are just the start of many events to follow during Patriot South 2018, Domestic Operations Exercise, a disaster-response training exercise slated to be held Feb. 13-15., in the Gulfport area.

"The Taser training is all about giving officers another tool to keep the public and themselves safe and minimize serious bodily injury of a combative, hostile or someone posing a deadly force situation" said Police Capt. Benjamin Mitchell, MMD standards and evaluations flight chief. "It also teaches them to think critically and helps them understand what means of force is most appropriate in different situations."

After the participants became well-versed with the proper-handling of the Taser and the various scenarios which it could be used in, several of the students volunteered to endure the effects of the Taser themselves.

"Getting Tazed by the Taser was like getting hit by a train," said Airman 1st Class Anndora Haraguchi, 154 SFS fireteam member. "It made me fully understand what these things are all about and why we handle them with such care. We had an amazing instructor and I'm just glad he was able to share all of his years of experience with us."

The combative knife fighting certification training challenged the Airmen to apply new self-defense techniques. The curriculum entailed approximately a dozen life-threatening scenarios involving a hostile knife attacker. Participants quickly learned how to use surrounding objects to their advantage and neutralize the 'assailant.'

As a law enforcement arm of the Air National Guard, the 154th Security Forces Squadron Defenders must always be ready to support other emergency management agencies should the need arise. 154 SFS Superintendant, Chief Master Sgt. Melvin Yamamoto, said these training events are crucial toward maintaining a skill to protect and serve the community.

"This training is highly valuable for us because it gives our defenders an opportunity to incorporate critical skills that will help them accomplish the mission, build confidence and find out if this career field is really what they want to do" said Yamamoto. "From the moment they stepped on that jet, I was very proud to witness leaders emerge in all directions."

As the guardsmen's drill weekend came to an end, they shifted gear toward planning for Patriot South.

On the following Monday, the Airmen gathered with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Special Response Team who they will be supporting in various activities throughout the week. The uniformed civilians and guardsmen spent their morning practicing combat medicine techniques and then focused on Tactical Air Control Party procedures in the afternoon; both skillsets are expected to be executed in the exercise.

Many of the Patriot South scenarios stem from real world events and were planned specifically so that police from various backgrounds can collaborate and share their wealth of experiences.

The 27-member team of military police is comprised of well-seasoned police with years of operational and deployment experience and also newer Airmen who still have their whole career ahead of them. For some of the participants, this is the furthest away they've ever been from home.

"I think being in an environment outside Hawaii and on a different training ground will provide more of a realistic scenario because it's not an environment our NCOs or Airmen are used to," said Senior Airman Angelica Midgley, 154 SFS fireteam member. "In Mississippi, we are able to challenge ourselves in different conditions. I'm really excited for it."

The remainder of the Patriot South training will be primarily focused on preparing for natural disaster with approximately 1000 participants from federal, state and local entities.