Yokota Air Base, Japan -- “Are you ready?” said Tech. Sgt. Justin McDonald, 374th Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of security forces training.
“Yes sir!” said Col. Kenneth Moss, 374th Airlift Wing commander.
Calmly McDonald said “Taser, taser, taser.”
As the electric current runs through Moss, the muscles throughout his body tighten up. If not for the two Airmen bracing Moss he would have fallen to the ground, but the Airmen gently set him on the padded floor.
“I’m down,” said Moss, as the audience of 374 SFS members clap and shout to congratulate him.
After only a few moments, Moss returns to his feet with a smile on his face and shakes the hands of the Airmen that helped him through his shocking ordeal.
Moss volunteered to be tased during a less-lethal weapons demonstration by the 374 SFS to experience and understand more of what SFS members go through and to show his support.
“What Defenders do for the Air Force is not just vital but amazing,” said Moss. “I have the utmost respect for all they do.”
Security Forces personnel, also known as defenders, serve as law enforcement officers within the Air Force and provide additional layers of defensive security to sensitive areas, such as the base flight line.
According to McDonald, when leadership gets involved in demonstrations, Airmen participation and interest increases. It also helps increase the understanding and respect for the tools officers use on other people outside law enforcement.
“To have someone like Col. Moss participate in demonstrations like these, it influences other Airmen,” said McDonald. “It was awesome having him come in and the next class I taught had all but one person volunteer in the demonstration.”
The training that SFS members go through to use a taser includes a class and written test. They have to view people getting tased, but can choose not to be tased themselves.
McDonald is one of two SFS members to attend the Inter-service Nonlethal Individual Weapons Instructor Course. The INIWIC qualifies individuals to teach less-lethal tactics to others and requires recertification every two years for taser qualification.
The taser is a vital tool for the SFS, in that it helps bridge the gap between the use of verbal orders and deadly force.
According to McDonald, a taser works by causing neuro-muscular incapacitation. This locks up the body’s muscles making it difficult for the person to move. The seconds the taser produces this electrical pulse for five seconds, giving the defenders time to safely gain control of the suspect and place them in hand cuffs.
Chief Master Sgt. Michael L. Molzhon, 374th Operations Group superintendent, and a few other Airmen from 374 SFS also volunteered to be tased along with Moss during the demonstration.
“I wish that more Airmen across the base could see and be a part of these types of demonstrations,” said Molzhon. “It is through experiences like this that I have learned the most during my 28 year Air Force career.”