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Selective arming program begins at Kadena

Airmen 1st Class Johnathan Meyer (left) and Gilbert Hardy challenge Senior Airman Charles Johnson during a base exercise at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 24, 2007. Both airmen took the selective arms course which enables them to protect their squadron's personnel and assets. The base conducted a three-day base exercise to demonstrate its ability to deploy and generate aircraft. All three Airmen are assigned to the 18th Civil Engineer Squadron.   (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Darnell T. Cannady)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan-- Airmen 1st Class Johnathan Meyer (left) and Gilbert Hardy challenge Senior Airman Charles Johnson during a base exercise here on Aug. 24, 2007. Both airmen took the selective arms course which enables them to protect their squadron's personnel and assets. The base conducted a three-day base exercise to demonstrate its ability to deploy and generate aircraft. All three Airmen are assigned to the 18th Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Darnell T. Cannady)

Airman 1st Class Tyler McCollom changes the Force Protection Signs while Senior Airman Mary Osterman provides security during a base exercise at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 23, 2007. Both Airmen took the selective arms course which enables them to protect their squadron's personnel and assets. The base conducted a three-day base exercise to demonstrate its ability to deploy and generate aircraft. Airman McCollom is a network application technician with the 18th Communications Sqaudron and Airman Osterman is an airfield systems technician with 18th Communications Squadron. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Darnell T. Cannady)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan-- Airman 1st Class Tyler McCollom changes the Force Protection Signs while Senior Airman Mary Osterman provides security during a base exercise here on August 24, 2007. Both Airmen took the selective arms course which enables them to protect their squadron's personnel and assets. The base conducted a three-day base exercise to demonstrate its ability to deploy and generate aircraft. Airman McCollom is a network application technician with the 18th Communications Sqaudron and Airman Osterman is an airfield systems technician with 18th Communications Squadron. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Darnell T. Cannady)

Airman 1st Class Christina Martinez scans the perimeter while Senior Airman Rebecca Trammell secures all doors during a base exercise at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 24, 2007. Both Airmen took the selective arms course which enables them to protect their squadron's personnel and assets. The base conducted a three-day base exercise to demonstrate its ability to deploy and generate aircraft. Airman Martinez works in mobility with the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron and Airman Trammell is a weapons manager with 18th LRS. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Darnell T. Cannady)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan-- Airman 1st Class Christina Martinez scans the perimeter while Senior Airman Rebecca Trammell secures all doors during a base exercise here on Aug. 24, 2007. Both Airmen took the selective arms course which enables them to protect their squadron's personnel and assets. The base conducted a three-day base exercise to demonstrate its ability to deploy and generate aircraft. Airman Martinez works in mobility with the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron and Airman Trammell is a weapons manager with 18th LRS. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Darnell T. Cannady)

KADENA AB, Japan -- Non-security forces Airmen are redefining the meaning of force protection by taking up weapons and the training that goes along with it to protect their squadron resources. 

A few units have already completed training with the 18th Security Forces Squadron through the selective arming program which gives them the ability to respond immediately to an enemy threat. 

"The SELARM program allows units to provide their own protection in a wartime scenario," said Capt. Sarah Bragg, 18th SFS operations officer. "This program is very different from the augmentee program where folks come to work for us for a couple months. SELARM allows units to keep their people at work until a situation arises where they're called to defend their squadron's resources." 

These units, including the 18th Communications Squadron, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 18th Maintenance Operations Squadron, underwent specialized training in reporting attacks, setting up entry control points, and protecting themselves, their squadron's members and resources to achieve their mission goals in a hostile environment. 

"During the two-day training course, we taught SELARM personnel how to react to gunfire and move tactically around buildings," said Tech. Sgt. Raymond Marsh, 18th SFS NCO-in-charge of training. "Members also learned security reporting procedures, fire control measures and airbase defense." 

During a recent exercise, the four squadrons had the opportunity to demonstrate their skills. 

"We ran some scenarios during the exercise to test the things our folks learned in training," said Capt. David Castor, 18th Communications Squadron deputy commander. 
"The scenarios helped us identify the areas where we needed more training." 

Since the program is still in its trial and error period, 18th SFS members are working closely with SELARM personnel to work out any bugs in the system. 

"The program will be wing-wide eventually," Captain Bragg said. "The greatest part about this program is Airmen stay at their squadrons and defend the critical facilities they are familiar with."