JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Security forces defenders have a sworn duty to protect their assigned base and all of its assets. However most bases have a security forces augmentee program in place, which calls upon other units to assist in protecting when needed.
Airmen from units across Joint Base Charleston, S.C. are selected to participate in the program. A week-long basic training course details what would be required if they are called upon.
“The training is an introduction to what security forces does,” said Curtis Sauls, 628th Security Forces Squadron training instructor. “It contains weapon familiarization and firing, use of force, entry control procedures and less-than-lethal weapons training.”
Various squadrons and units around the air base as well as the weapons station provide their “fair share” of Airmen and Sailors to ensure units are supporting the 628th SFS. Most Airmen are selected after their First Term Airman Course.
“Joint Base Charleston has what is called a ‘Fair Share’ program,” said Sauls. “It ensures base mission partners are providing their fair share of Airmen and Sailors based on how large their units are.”
Augmentees are trained to make sure the base has enough defenders to staff entry control points as well as patrol the base perimeter during a potential crisis or when higher security levels have gone into effect.
“When we go in to higher force protection levels we have additional posts to man and security forces can’t support those posts on their own,” said Sauls. “That’s where the augmentees come in. They help secure the home station.”
Augmentees take away different experiences from the course but realize the importance of the training.
“My favorite part was shooting the M9. I’ve shot rifles all my life, so shooting the pistol was a different experience for me,” said Airman Dalton Green, 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron environmental and electronic systems apprentice. “The class is really important, just in case we need to backfill security forces spots in an emergency.”
The augmentee program isn’t just for protection. It also keeps full-time security forces Airmen from getting burned out.
“It’s extremely important,” said Sauls. “When you go into high security conditions you have to have a way to secure the base. It also takes some of the burden off of security forces.”
Situations in varying levels of severity could be cause to bring on an augmentee.
“When 9/11 occurred both the weapons station and the air base went into 12-hour shifts and having those augmentees helped,” said Sauls. “We also use them for situations like air shows where they’re needed for traffic and crowd control.”
Augmentee Airmen aren’t expected to deploy or work as a security forces Airman in any situations other than high force protection levels or exercises. However, the skills they learn in the augmentee training prepare them if they were needed for similar situations.
“By the end of the training, they won’t be leading any charges but they will be reliable backups,” said Saul. “They are able to help man checkpoints as well as patrol.”
Security Forces has a wide spectrum of responsibilities protecting their home station. Having augmentees provides the 628th SFS with an extra blanket of assurance in case of emergencies.