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Defenders strengthen skills through combative course

Security forces Airmen practice self-defense maneuvers during a Security Forces combative course Jan. 14, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Approximately 21 students attended the seven-day course to improve weapon retention and self-defense skills which can be used to handle hostile situations in the most peaceful means necessary. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Security forces Airmen practice self-defense maneuvers during a Security Forces combative course Jan. 14, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Approximately 21 students attended the seven-day course to improve weapon retention and self-defense skills which can be used to handle hostile situations in the most peaceful means necessary. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Senior Airman Michael Kurtz, 52nd Security Forces Squadron patrolman from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and Airman 1st Class Nakealius Ards, 65th SFS patrolman from Lajes Field, Portugal, practice self-defense maneuvers during a Security Forces combative course Jan. 14, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The course is designed to help defenders gain the skills, knowledge and confidence they need in order to protect and serve. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Senior Airman Michael Kurtz, 52nd Security Forces Squadron patrolman from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and Airman 1st Class Nakealius Ards, 65th SFS patrolman from Lajes Field, Portugal, practice self-defense maneuvers during a Security Forces combative course Jan. 14, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The course is designed to help defenders gain the skills, knowledge and confidence they need in order to protect and serve. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Staff Sgt. Wilbertson Smith, 423rd Security Forces Squadron patrolman from RAF Alconbury, United Kingdom, watches as instructors demonstrate a self-defense maneuver during a Security Forces combative course Jan. 14, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The seven-day course is designed to teach security force members weapon retention and self-defense so they can handle hostile situations by the most peaceful means necessary. Though the course is held at Ramstein, geographically separated units send members to be trained as an instructor and spread that knowledge upon their return to their home station. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Staff Sgt. Wilbertson Smith, 423rd Security Forces Squadron patrolman from RAF Alconbury, United Kingdom, watches as instructors demonstrate a self-defense maneuver during a Security Forces combative course Jan. 14, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The seven-day course is designed to teach security force members weapon retention and self-defense so they can handle hostile situations by the most peaceful means necessary. Though the course is held at Ramstein, geographically separated units send members to be trained as an instructor and spread that knowledge upon their return to their home station. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Staff Sgt. Justin Hains and Staff Sgt. Jose Ruiz, both patrolmen with the 435th Security Forces Squadron, practice self-defense maneuvers during a Security Forces combative course Jan. 14, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The course is designed to help defenders gain the skills, knowledge and confidence they need in order to protect and serve. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Staff Sgt. Justin Hains and Staff Sgt. Jose Ruiz, both patrolmen with the 435th Security Forces Squadron, practice self-defense maneuvers during a Security Forces combative course Jan. 14, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The course is designed to help defenders gain the skills, knowledge and confidence they need in order to protect and serve. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Senior Airman George Henry III and Staff Sgt. Wilbertson Smith, both patrolmen with the 423rd Security Forces Squadron from RAF Alconbury, United Kingdom, practice self-defense maneuvers during a Security Forces combative course Jan. 14, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The seven-day course is designed to teach security forces members weapon retention and self-defense so they can handle hostile situations in the most peaceful means necessary. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Senior Airman George Henry III and Staff Sgt. Wilbertson Smith, both patrolmen with the 423rd Security Forces Squadron from RAF Alconbury, United Kingdom, practice self-defense maneuvers during a Security Forces combative course Jan. 14, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The seven-day course is designed to teach security forces members weapon retention and self-defense so they can handle hostile situations in the most peaceful means necessary. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Staff Sgt. Jose Ruiz, 435th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, spars with Senior Airman George Henry III, 423rd SFS patrolman from RAF Alconbury, United Kingdom, during a Security Forces combative course Jan. 14, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The course is designed to help defenders gain the skills, knowledge and confidence they need in order to protect and serve. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Staff Sgt. Jose Ruiz, 435th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, spars with Senior Airman George Henry III, 423rd SFS patrolman from RAF Alconbury, United Kingdom, during a Security Forces combative course Jan. 14, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The course is designed to help defenders gain the skills, knowledge and confidence they need in order to protect and serve. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Staff Sgt. Mark Kegel, 435th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, spars with Staff Sgt. Jacob Udell, 65th SFS flight chief from Lajes Field, Portugal, during a Security Forces combative course Jan. 14, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Though the course is held at Ramstein, geographically separated units can send a member to be trained as an instructor and spread that knowledge upon their return to their home station. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Staff Sgt. Mark Kegel, 435th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, spars with Staff Sgt. Jacob Udell, 65th SFS flight chief from Lajes Field, Portugal, during a Security Forces combative course Jan. 14, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Though the course is held at Ramstein, geographically separated units can send a member to be trained as an instructor and spread that knowledge upon their return to their home station. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Airmen throughout Europe attended a Security Forces Combative course at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Jan. 11 through 17.

The five-day course is designed to teach security forces members weapon retention and self-defense.

"When our people are facing a threat, they need to have the skills and knowledge to defend themselves as well as ensure their weapons are secured," said Staff Sgt. Jakob Haase, 435th Security Forces combative instructor.

While the program is not new, it has just recently grown in popularity as its benefits have become more apparent, according to Senior Airman Nicholas Zimmer, 100th SFS response force leader and course student.

"The skills taught during the program can be used in everyday calls," said Zimmer "From domestic responses to altercations while on patrol, (what) we learn here can be used to handle hostile situations in the most peaceful means necessary."

From memorizing complex maneuvers to strenuous endurance training, the students push through the physical and mental exhaustion to perfect their craft, because it could be what saves someone's life.

"If a hostile situation arises it won't be in a controlled environment like (this)," Haase said. "There is no telling what could happen, we need to be confident in our skills and the only way to do that is practice."

In order to teach defenders at geographically separated locations, U.S. Air Forces in Europe units send members to attend the course at Ramstein, become instructors and share that knowledge upon return to their home stations.

"The cadre set the standard really high," Zimmer said. "They show us where our skills need to be as instructors and how we can guide and mentor the people we will be teaching at our home station."

With the end of the course comes another patrol for the Airmen, but with their new skills and knowledge in mind they arrive better prepared to serve, defend and protect.