Military News

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Police Week: Holloman Special Response Team

by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Kenney
49th Wing Public Affairs


5/13/2015 - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- "Police week is very important to me, especially now with the current challenges today's law enforcement officers face," said Staff Sgt. Anthony Harmon, 49th Security Forces Squadron Special Response Team, entry team leader. "It's a time to reflect on the good and bad. In our career field, we have lost many brothers and sisters in combat, performing law enforcement duties, accidents, diseases and even the battle against Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. During Police Week, I reflect on how to make positive change for those who are following in my foot steps by providing leadership and mentorship that I have been given over the years."

Harmon, a Maryland native, is among an elite few members of Security Forces known as the Special Reaction Team.

"SRT is a force multiplier for the wing and is a last resort solution," said Harmon. "Not every Security Forces member is trained in hostage or barricaded subject tactics and procedures, but the SRT is."

SRT is primarily used for high risk operations such as drug raids, surveillance and protective service details, and they have high standards to join their team.

"We maintain the same standards provided by the U.S. Army SRT," said Harmon. "Members must be physically fit, excellent marksmen, and mentally prepared. When an individual wishes to try out, they must complete a physical fitness test, obstacle course, and fire the FBI SWAT marksmanship qualification. We have many people try out, and many don't make it. People can always try out again, but being on the team is not for everybody."

SRT is critical to not only managing and deescalating situations, but also protecting all those involved.

"Not only is saving victims' lives important, but if we can get a subject out safely without shots being fired then it's a win-win situation."

Harmon has been part of the SRT at Holloman since 2014, and said his favorite part of his job is training with various state and federal agencies.

"I really enjoy the joint-training scenarios we conduct with other agencies," Harmon said. "The bonds we build with other state and federal teams have really helped us with our training. By July, we will have every member certified either through the U.S. Army SRT School, or the Las Cruces Basic SWAT course, and that's a first ever for Holloman."

Harmon said one of his favorite memories is when his team competed in the Elite Tactical Challenge last September.

During the day-long competition, Holloman's SRT competed against the U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit, U.S. Army Special Forces, U.S. Army Rangers, U.S. Marshalls and the El Paso police in team movements, obstacle courses and marksmanship up to 800 meters.

"The best part of the competition was when our marksman observer had the opportunity to fire from an airborne platform," Harmon said. "He had the opportunity to give our team bonus points by firing at eight targets from the helicopter, while moving. Being part of a group that loves to exceed the standard, and where every member pushes themselves to the limits is my favorite part of being on the SRT."

Although SRT is unique in their mission, Harmon said they are all Security Forces members at their core.

"My team has a unique capability, I still look at us as a squad of Security Forces members," Harmon said. "Security Forces not only has the law enforcement mission, but we also have air base defense, security and even nuclear security missions. We have to become experts in all field to become proficient. Through my experiences, I feel that I can provide a better picture to the younger airmen in the squadron. No matter what specific unit we are with, we have to learn to adapt and always complete the mission."

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