Ready Tiger 24-1: Airmen provide base defense at FOS

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Devin Boyer
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

When operating across vast regions with limited infrastructure, the Air Force must adapt and find creative ways to complete Air Tasking Orders. To combat the tyranny of distance, smaller teams disperse to forward operating sites (FOS) and contingency locations (CL), establishing bases and airfields to provide combat airpower. This method narrows the gap between the 23rd Wing’s assets and mission objectives.

Security is pivotal for establishing airfields, especially in contested environments. This is where the 23rd Security Forces team comes in.

The 23rd Security Forces Squadron from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, demonstrated base defense capabilities in a contested environment with the help of augmentees at Avon Park Air Force Range, Florida, April 9-16.

“Our primary responsibility is to protect and defend personnel, equipment, and aircraft,” said Tech. Sgt. Sashia Euley, 23rd SFS Alpha Flight sergeant. "In austere environments, base defense is critical. It serves as a shield, safeguarding assets and facilitating strategic maneuvering to meet combatant commander objectives."

In order to meet these objectives, leaving a small footprint is necessary as it allows the Air Force to establish an airfield, generate airpower, and exit the area of responsibility with minimal indicators of presence. To do this, the 23rd Wing utilizes smaller teams, which often requires Airmen to step away from their primary job to assist where needed.

An example of this tactic is the 23rd SFS’s implementation of the Multi-Capable Airmen concept and soliciting help from maintenance, force support, and communications Airmen to provide base defense at the FOS.

Euley explained how the use of augmentees enhances the reach of security measures and the establishment of base defense when defenders are forward deployed. 

Prior to the exercise, the 23rd SFS provided contingency location training for Airmen from different career fields to better prepare them to take on responsibilities outside of their primary duties.

“Security forces taught offensive and defensive tactics to include armed maneuvering and communication techniques while operating in small fire teams to de-escalate, or in worst case scenarios, neutralize threats in contingency locations,” Euley said.

By preparing augmentees, the 23rd SFS was able to secure and protect aircraft, resources, and personnel in locations across the area of responsibility. Throughout the exercise, base defense personnel reacted to injects, or scenarios, where exercise planners challenged their tactics, techniques, and procedures.

“For the ground attack, we pulled all augmentees and ensured they were able to eliminate any threats on the ground and made sure other personnel were bunkered down,” said Senior Airman Seidi Zamarron, 23rd SFS patrolman. “We gave the augmentees a rundown of what steps to take for a ground attack and how to utilize their weapons issued to them.”

The augmentees also received a brief on the SALUTE report, which helps identify threats by describing their size, actions, location, unit, time identified, and equipment or weapons they have.

One of the scenarios they encountered involved protestors outside of the gate. Base defense had to confront the protestors while remaining vigilant in the event the protest became hostile.

“Not having less-than-lethal weapons made a big impact when confronting protests,” Zamarron said. “We had to rely on verbal judo, or persuasion techniques, to calm protestors down before situations escalated. After they escalated, we took measures to apprehend the protestors. One of our defenders-initiated challenge procedures on one of the non-compliant protestors, and by apprehending him, we were able to protect personnel and property at FOS Avon.”

The collaboration with augmentees brought a refreshing dynamic to their duties, fostering camaraderie and reinforcing the collective pursuit of mission objectives.

Reflecting on this collaboration, Zamarron remarked, “I enjoyed working with the augmentees. It was nice to have other people in our shoes and it surprised me to see how much they enjoyed it and were non-complacent with the duties they were tasked with. Having augmentees definitely created great friendships. We all have a common goal, and by having strong bonds, we’re able to achieve those goals and accomplish the mission more effectively. I think it’s beneficial to have these augmentees for the Air Force as a whole. Having extra bodies in austere environments where we don’t have as many resources is only making us more lethal.”