Elite Air Force Unit Plays Key Role in as Guardians

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J.—The PhoenixRavens are the elite of the Air Force Security Forces. They are deployed to areas where security is deemed inadequate, and are the first to set foot off the plane. They’re also a rather diplomatic bunch.

Although trained in the arts of self defense—kicks, punches, ground fighting, and disarming techniques—among the most powerful tools the Ravens hold is what they refer to as “verbal judo.”

“Since I became a Raven, we haven’t had any incidents where anyone had to use the training, as far as physical training, on any of their missions,” said Technical Sgt. Chasity Hert, 33, Raven number 945.

The role of the Ravens is to protect the aircraft—both on the ground and off. Once a plane lands, they are the first on the ground and are sent to secure the perimeter. They then keep an eye out for potential threats and make sure individuals keep the right distance from the aircraft.

At the training facility at the USAF Expeditionary Center, an orchestra of grunts and yells echoed across the mats and lockers on day 10 of 17 for troops in the Phoenix Ravens trainingprogram. They were practicing ground and stand up fighting techniques.

Troops wrestled on the mats and moved straight into drills of kicks and punches. All of the trainees for the program start off as military cops. In the Air Force, they’re called Security Forces, while in the Army they’re referred to as Military Police.

Each of the trainees is handpicked for the 17-day intense training program. They are the elite of the USAF Security Forces, and 26 percent of them will not graduate from the program, due to its high physical and academic requirements.

The troops refer to the training facility as the IHOP, an acronym for the “International House of Pain.”

“All of us volunteered to come here,” said Raven trainee, Airman 1st Class Davey R. Grimes Jr., adding, “The pain and the suffering you’ve got to go through here, you know, it’s just a part of the training, but I love it.”

Read the full story here.