Air Transportation: Rough Neighborhoods


May 14,2008: The heavy use of aircraft and helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan usually means flying from one U.S. base to another. But not always. Often the aircraft land at an Iraqi or Afghan base, or a U.S. base that is very temporary. In those cases, there are often lots of locals wandering around, and that presents a growing security problem. Both countries are poor, and have a lot of young men who eager to try stealing something from one of these aircraft. A less frequent threat is an attack on the aircraft. To deal with these problems, the U.S. Air Force has trained several thousand of its security personnel for FAST (Fly Away Security Team) duty. These teams consist of 3-6 troops, and get out of the aircraft first upon landing, and maintain guard on the aircraft for as long as it is in a bad neighborhood. The army and marines have a similar, but informal, approach to ground security for aircraft staying in rough neighborhoods.


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