908 SFS Engages in Expandable Baton Training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Juliana Todd
  • 908th Airlift Wing

No matter what challenges come their way, the 908th Security Forces Squadron “Defenders” stay composed, concentrated, and prepared to carry out their mission. However, their high level of discipline and preparedness does not come without hours of training beforehand.

Recently, during the July Unit Training Assembly, a contingent of 25 members from the 908 SFS participated in expandable baton training, a skill that security forces personnel must stay proficient in.

The expandable baton is a collapsible, concealable, lightweight self-defense tool used to gain compliance from a subject through a less-than-lethal use of force. For training purposes, they used a training baton to maximize safety and minimize injury.

Training commenced with instruction, during which the members were provided with a comprehensive overview of the fundamentals, such as fighting positions, employment techniques, strategies to shield their head and face, and defensive and offensive tactics. Shortly after, they engaged in hands-on practice where they demonstrated to the instructors how they would effectively hinder or stop the adversary.

Tech. Sgt. Herman Cleveland, a training instructor for the 908 SFS, explained why the training is instrumental in developing the Defenders into mission-ready Airmen.

“The expandable baton training is important for our Reservists because it equips them with valuable self-defense skills that they can apply during temporary duty assignments, deployments, or even in their civilian lives,” he said. “It's crucial that our Defenders know how and when to properly employ this use of force, so that they can protect themselves and others when it's time for it.”

Once they grasped the fundamental concepts, they engaged in collaborative exercises, alternating between the roles of aggressor and defender. By working together, they were able to observe and learn from each other's techniques, fostering a sense of confidence in their partners' ability to effectively handle and overcome the attacker.

Wrapping up the training, Master Sgt. Thomas Meadows, the noncommissioned officer in charge of training for the 908 SFS, volunteered to put on the RedMan suit. The Redman suit is a form-fitting, padded suit designed to protect the wearer from injury during the practical application portion.

The exercise was a one-on-one challenge that tested a Defender’s endurance, stamina, and knowledge on what to do in a hostile, real-world scenario. For a duration of two minutes, he or she was required to spar with Meadows, using the techniques they had learned earlier, while also staying in constant communication with the aggressor, shouting phrases such as "get back" or "get down."

“In a high stress situation, such as someone trying to ambush you, adrenaline runs high,” said Senior Airman Amber Clemente, a Defender with the 908 SFS. “It’s either fight or flight, and today's training taught us how to fight and keep our composure under pressure so that we stay focused on the task at hand. After today, I feel more confident in my skills to protect myself and my peers.”

Members of the 908th Airlift Wing can have full confidence in the abilities of their Defenders to utilize non-lethal tools from their duty belts with utmost effectiveness. The morale, confidence, and proficiency that comes from their training serves as an exemplary standard that all Reserve Citizen Airmen should aspire to achieve.

VIDEO | 01:45 | 908 SFS Engages in Expandable Baton Training