By defenders for defenders
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- More than 20 Security Forces Squadron Airmen from Kadena, Kusan, Misawa and Yokota Air Base attended the Defender's Edge training course March 10-13 at the Taiyo Community Center on base.
Defender's Edge, a four-day resiliency and stress-management course for security forces Airmen, utilizes interactive discussions and physical exercises to teach effective skills to the defenders.
"This training is a security forces specific human performance optimization initiative with the intent to give defenders skills that will help them perform under pressure," said Deloria Wilson, a psychologist from the Headquarters Air Force Security Forces Center at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. "In addition, Defender's Edge also builds operational resiliency so that our Airman can recover quickly."
Defender's Edge has evolved from its beginnings in 2012 as a pre-deployment readiness program to a course that teaches skills that continue to become integral in defender's culture.
"The course has and will continue to evolve thanks to the constructive feedback courtesy of the Airmen," Wilson said. "Airmen have reported that the skills learned in this course have aided them not only in their job as security forces, but also in their personal lives. What makes Defenders Edge unique is that it was created in collaboration by defenders for defenders," Wilson said.
This training not only prepares security forces personnel for combat environments, but also for personal trials experienced daily.
"It's about opening up optimal performance in all of us," said Tech. Sgt. Eric L. Williams, 374th Security Forces Squadron patrolman. "Defender's Edge has given me the tools to be able to think outside of the box and get mentally prepared for challenges I face everyday."
While the first few days of the course involve lecturing and group discussion, the remaining days are dedicated to ensuring that defenders have not only retained the information they have learned, but can also teach and display their knowledge to fellow defenders.
"While we may talk about fine motor skills, when we do exercises that task defenders with putting their weapon together under duress, we can demonstrate both the effects of stress and how to deal with them," Wilson said.
The course instructors tasked security forces Airman to figure out a way of taking lessons learned back to their units and incorporating them into their culture.
"Defender's Edge has not only allowed me the opportunity to learn new and effective resiliency skills, but it has also given me the opportunity to share this information with my fellow Airman," said Tech. Sgt. Eric Garza, 374th SFS NCO in charge of standardization and evaluation. "This training has definitely given me additional tools that I can put in the toolbox of my fellow defenders."