Defenders, agents share security skills with Saudi partners

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cynthia Innocenti
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing

Airmen with the 879th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron and Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 243 conducted joint security training with members of the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Defense Military Police during three weeks in March 2017, culminating in an exercise.

The training consisted of three different groups totaling more than 75 personnel, and focused on different areas of the security forces career field in an effort to enhance member’s job related skills.

“This successful training event closed a three-year gap in combined training exercises with host nation security forces and set the tone for future training and combined operations events,” said Lt. Col. Nathan M. Murray, 879th ESFS commander. “These training and exercise initiatives not only bolster force protection capabilities, but also enhance partnership and collaboration amongst our two nations, strengthening coalition bonds in pursuit of stabilization in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.”

Week one spanned five days with, five hours a day focused on mobile patrols. The training covered suspicious activity reports, handcuffing then searching, identifying explosives, high risk traffic stops, building clearing and vehicle searches.

“Our members shared insight with the groups, giving them a better understanding of how responses to real world incidents could be better initiated,” said Master Sgt. Stephanie Pena, Operations NCO in charge with the 879th ESFS.

During week two, the focus shifted to protecting and escorting distinguished visitors. Participants partnered with the AFOSI Det. 243 and the 879th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordinance Disposal section to train on formations for escorting, identifying explosives, vehicle searches, distinguished visitor convoys, reaction to contact and aggressive driving techniques.

Week three centered on gate guards with training mirroring what transpired during week one and the addition of DV entrance procedures.

"The joint training was a complete success,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Ryan, a security escort team member with the 879th ESFS. “We were able to give them our insight as security forces and how we do things. This not only gives them something new to work with, but it has fine-tuned their processes to make their security more efficient as a whole.”

The three week practice wrapped up with an exercise. An invitation to watch the scenario was extended to Saudi Ministry of Defense leadership.

“This occasion has been in the planning stages for roughly seven months, initiated by members stationed here before me,” Pena said. “We are excited to finally get the ball rolling and see the final product of hard work from everyone involved.”

"Building strong ties between two different nations can be monumentally difficult, but I believe the friendships made over the past couple weeks are just the beginning,” said Master Sgt. Thomas Martin, NCO in charge of training with the 879th ESFS. “These interactions will bring lasting relationships between host nations and U.S. forces for years to come.”