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Security Forces Commander returns, Squadron Leadership Improved

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Denise Sweeney, 161st Security Forces Squadron commander, recently returned from the Security Forces Specialist Technical Training at Lackland AFB, Texas. Colonel Sweeney learned and earned the right to command the Security Forces Squadron after completing the 65 day course. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Charles M. Wade/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Denise Sweeney, 161st Security Forces Squadron commander, recently returned from the Security Forces Specialist Technical Training at Lackland AFB, Texas. Colonel Sweeney learned and earned the right to command the Security Forces Squadron after completing the 65 day course. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Charles M. Wade/Released)

Phoenix Sky Harbor Air National Guard Base -- The commander of the 161st Air Refueling Wing Security Forces Squadron recently attended security forces commander training at Camp Bullis, San Antonio.

The four-month training consisted of early morning guard mount, military law, subject apprehension and restraint techniques, crisis intervention, domestic violence scenarios, live range fire operations, tactical communication, and land navigation, as well as indirect fire operations and defensive fighting positions.

Lt. Col. Denise Sweeney, 161st Security Forces Squadron commander, said she elected to attend this deployment training in order to gain an appreciation for what her airmen go through on a daily basis.

"The school definitely helped with leadership within the squadron because I have a new respect for what it takes to wear the equipment, to have the vest on all day, to stand at long hours at a post," said Colonel Sweeney. "I never had that kind of appreciation. Until you actually put on the equipment and wear it for hours on end, you can't relate."

When asked about the physical demands of the course, Colonel Sweeney said, "There was a definite emphasis on the physical strength and the physical conditioning," said Colonel Sweeney. "You can't be mentally strong if you're not physically strong. We definitely reacted to stressful situations. They [cadre] tried to get our heart rates up; they tried to see how we would respond in those types of situations. Having never been in a combat arms situation, profession, or career field myself, this was a unique experience for me and situational leadership drove everything."

Colonel Sweeney feels her own leadership has improved after attending this unique training.

"I'm often asked about the most important thing that I learned. And it wasn't anything that I learned. It was absolutely what I earned. I earned the badge, I earned the beret. And, in my opinion, I earned the right to be able to lead this squadron."