Air advisors, Honduran Airmen secure base defense operations
By Tech. Sgt. Lesley Waters, 615th Contingency Response Wing public affairs
/ Published February 23, 2012
TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS -- Communications, personal protection, tactics and reporting procedures. These were several topics Airmen from the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron and Honduran Air Force exchanged ideas on during the air base defense portion of the Air Mobility Command Building Partner Capacity mission in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
The month-long BPC mission is designed to promote regional stability by fostering key relationships and enhancing partner nation capabilities. In addition, the mission of the squadron, based out of Travis AFB, Calif., supports the 12th Air Force's (Air Forces Southern) continued engagements in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility of Latin America and the Caribbean.
"We are working side-by-side with our Honduran counterparts and covering topics that have been mutually beneficial," said Master Sgt. Marc Slonecker, 571 MSAS security forces air advisor. "Much of what we are sharing is things we have done in prior operations and the Hondurans are currently doing here."
One of those topics included urban training. Several Honduran Air Force security forces members recently returned from working alongside the country's civilian police force walking the streets and enforcing the law. The two air forces have been comparing each other's techniques and sharing them constantly during the BPC mission. One of the Honduran Airmen said he wished that he had received some of these ideas and techniques before he went out on the civilian police engagement.
"The knowledge and hands on application we are receiving will increase the level of awareness for every individual so they can perform better on the different missions fighting organized crime, common delinquencies and threats that exist in our country," said 2nd Lt. Carlos Amador, Honduran Air Force installation security officer.
Another topic discussed was personal protection. The MSAS security forces Airmen recently received Krav Maga training. As certified instructors, they are sharing this training with the Honduran Air Force security forces. The Krav Maga Worldwide program is well-integrated, meaning that similar defensive principles apply to a variety of hostile situations. The system deals with scenarios where, for any number of reasons, Airmen face life-threatening situations when they are unarmed or in which higher force options cannot immediately be accessed. From this perspective the Airmen must respond with sound, aggressive, unarmed defensive techniques until a transition to a higher force option can be achieved or acquired. The program features both offensive and defensive techniques.
"Personal protection and situational awareness is key to one's personal safety and that of the unit," said Staff Sgt. Jason Lares, 571 MSAS supply air advisor and translator. "Security is a very important job and everybody has to do their part; that also includes the rest of the base populace."
The value of this BPC mission to the U.S. Air Force and Honduran Air Force is priceless. Not only are the MSAS Airmen honing their air advisory skills, but they also have the opportunity to learn new approaches to air mobility and exchange ideas with other Airmen who may have a different perspective.
Just as important as personal protection and base defense is the communication between the security forces Airmen. The two air forces collaborated together to improve the communication link between security forces control center and each of the outposts by laying a cable to and from the control center and each of the outposts and installing TA-312 field phones. The TA-312 can be used in a point-to-point wire system or in any two-wire ring-down subscriber position of a telephone communications system.
"I think this mission is extremely important to better relationships with partner nations," said Staff Sgt. Alejandro Gutierrez, 571 MSAS security forces air advisor. It's a win-win situation for both parties to see how one another operate on a day-to-day basis."
This BPC mission will make the U.S. Air Force better and also benefit the Honduran Air Force. Through MSAS, the U.S. is able to build stronger international air force cooperation, interoperability and mutual support. When a crisis or contingency operation occurs in the future, the U.S. and Honduras will be better prepared to respond together.