SAVANNAH, Ga. --
SAVANNAH, Ga.-- “If you go, I go.” This is the mentality required by the U.S. security forces Airmen who went through the initial assessment on Mar. 12 that they must complete to join the 165th Security Forces Squadron’s newest undertaking, a Strategic Response Team.
The team, led by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Overholt, a non-commissioned officer in-charge at the 165 SFS, Georgia Air National Guard, located at the Savannah Air Guard Base, Ga, will be a group of security forces Airmen who are highly trained and equipped to respond to emergencies requiring advanced police tactics.
Overholt served eight years as an active-duty Air Force security forces specialist, three years as civilian police officer and SWAT operator for the city of Savannah and now is a full-time security forces Guardsmen here at the 165th Airlift Wing.
“This assessment is supposed to seem impossible,” said Overholt, “I want to see these Airmen pushed to their absolute limit and observe how they respond under this kind of pressure, and ultimately see them push each other and keep going even when they want to quit.”
The assessment requires each defender to complete an official Air Force Physical Fitness Test, a timed obstacle course individually and again as a team, a ¼ mile ruck march while carrying a telephone pole as a team while wearing full combat gear and a gas mask, shooting box drills with a rifle and a pistol and lastly, an interview and feedback session, said Overholt.
“This “You go, I go” mentality I have is originally from the latin phrase “Ecce ego, mitte me” which translates to “Here I am, send me,” Overholt said, “ I am excited to have a group of people who understand this concept and are volunteering to put themselves in greater harm and take on greater risk together for a greater cause.”
“The assessment was very challenging,” said Airman First Class Colin Ricco, a security forces specialist at the 165 SFS, “I continued to think about my “why” for doing what I am doing, which is my family and my teammates, and that helped me push through and finish the obstacle course strong.”
The main goal in starting this SRT would be to provide our base with a first-line of defense with outstanding Airmen from the 165 SFS who are subject-matter experts in responding to situations requiring a specific strategy and specialized training, Overholt said.
“For example, say we have a situation on base that we decide we need additional support from an outside agency,” Overholt said, “Our team is going to have in-depth knowledge on the blueprints of the base including first and secondary breach points and a strategic response plan in place so that we can easily communicate and direct those who come to assist us when needed.”
Overholt said everything they will train on is an extension of their security forces training and knowledge and is intended to challenge them to think in a more strategic way alongside other highly-trained law enforcement agencies.
“This initial assessment went very well and they knocked it out of the park,” Overholt said, “They showed me exactly what I want to see, which is true grit and the ability to put their minds over matter to complete the course together as a team.”
The 165 SFS will hold another assessment later this Spring for any other defenders who are up for the challenge and want to join this special team.