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NEWS | July 22, 2015

Raven 1 reflects on career

By James Bowman Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

When an individual was found dead in the wheel well of an Air Force aircraft after departing a foreign country, Gen. Ronald Fogleman, who later became the Air Force Chief of Staff, determined that additional security was needed to ensure the safety of Air Mobility Command's aircraft. He asked Col. Lawrence "Rocky" Lane, the AMC chief of Security Forces at the time, to establish a program to protect AMC aircraft and their aircrew's anywhere in the world and in 1997 the Phoenix Raven program was born.

By naming the security program "Phoenix Raven" Rocky became the first Raven in the Air Force - - call sign Raven 1. He chose the Raven because of the bird's intelligence.

As an Air Force Raven, Rocky reasoned, "you need to be able to think on your feet and adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. You need to analyze your situation quickly and use logic to calmly handle the issue. "

Rocky and his staff designed the three week Raven training course, for both officers and enlisted, to be intense and stressful. Participants are taught various techniques to resolve situations peacefully while securing the safety of the aircraft and the crew. Each Air Force graduate receives a Raven number that is theirs for life.

"I am so proud of the Ravens," said Rocky. "They are outstanding young men and woman that I am thrilled to be around."

Retired Chief Master Sergeant J. Dwayne Gunther, the chief of the Antiterrorism Office at JB Charleston has known Rocky for 25 years. They first met at Volant Scorpion School at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., where Rocky was a member of the cadre and Gunther was a student.

"As long as I have known Colonel Lane, the one thing I remember most is that he has always been an Airman's Airman," said Gunther. "He would always ask 'What have you done for your Airmen today?'"

Armed Raven crew members detect, deter and counter threats to AMC aircraft and their crews by performing close-in aircraft security; advising aircrews on force protection measures; conducting airfield assessments and assisting aircrews in the performance of their duties when not performing their primary security duties. Currently there are more than 100 Ravens on active duty world-wide, with Joint Base Charleston being home to roughly 25 of them.

Rocky served four combat tours: Viet Nam, Granada, Panama and several Middle Eastern Countries and held numerous commands throughout his career. Most memorable, was being selected by the Secretary of Defense to plan and command Operation Safe Passage, the transportation of more than 9,000 Cuban migrants from Panama back to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Additionally, he was selected by the Secretary of Defense to be the Senior Air Force Investigator on the Downing Assessment Team, chartered to investigate the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. The attack killed 19 Airmen and injured several hundred more. As a result of the investigation, force protection became a core mission requirement.

Rocky enlisted in the military in 1963 at the age of 18.  He had been thinking about joining the Army and becoming a paratrooper but was motivated to join the Air Force by advice from his father, "I will break both of your legs if you join the Army. You need to join the Air Force." His father, an Army veteran who served with General Patton in WWII, was severely injured in Korea during the Korean War.

As a child, Rocky enjoyed being around airplanes, which would eventually lead him to his first career in the Air Force.

"I liked air planes while living in Miami, Florida as youngster and I used to play in the old aircraft in the surplus military storage areas," Rocky said.

He served as a jet engine Specialist for 11 years before being accepted into Officers Training School. He earned his degrees in criminology, criminal justice and counseling which led him down the path to security forces.

Rocky Lane, Raven 1, summed up his military career and offered advice to current Airmen by saying, "My career of 39 years in the Air Force has been the highlight of my life. Getting the opportunity to serve with some of the great Americans in this country has been outstanding. The Air Force allowed me to get two college degrees and find a wonderful wife, while serving in two demanding careers fields.  I think my time as an Airman and NCO prepared me to meet the many challenges of being an officer. I never forgot what it was like in the 'ranks' and how I thought a good leader should conduct himself while taking care of his people. I had great senior officer examples and plenty of poor ones to learn from. My last advice to our young Airmen is to enjoy your time serving your country.  It is a period in your life that will be with you forever.  Thank you for your service."