Defenders are sharp as a DAGRE

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The clouds cover the moon on a pitch black drizzling night. The quiet footsteps of Air Commandos approach a compound. Their mission: find and capture a high value target.

As they enter the compound they find contact; it's the enemy. Tactfully and skillfully they take down the two enemies wielding AK-47 assault rifles.

The night continues on, after searching buildings and engaging in multiple fire fights, their exit is pinned down by opposing fire. After a call to the "eye in the sky,” the targets are eliminated by air support, and the team is free to safely exit the compound.

This training scenario is one of the physical and mental exercises Deployed Aircraft Ground Response Element members complete to guarantee they are ready for global operations.

DAGRE is comprised of highly-trained Security Forces Air Commandos within Air Force Special Operations Command.

"The primary mission of DAGRE is fly-away security or ground security for all AFSOC aircraft while deployed," said Tech. Sgt. Samuel Fullerton, a flight chief for the DAGRE program with the 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron. “DAGRE also provide other mission sets, such as Combat Controller and Pararescue security escort, forward air refueling point security, downed aircraft security and protective service operations.”

Before security forces members can call themselves a DAGRE team member, they must first go through the pipeline. During the 42 day pipeline trainees learn operation orders, combatives, tactical radio operations, tactical driving, small unit tactics and protective service operations.

"The training and pipeline we go through is absolutely worth it," said Senior Airman Ethan Pierce, a DAGRE member with the 1st SOSFS. “I’m proud to be a part of DAGRE and the opportunities I get to excel.”

There is an estimated 200 DAGRE members Air Force wide, and a fraction of them are deployed on a 1:2 dwell rate, with four months deployed and eight months on home-station.

"When we are deployed, we do the mission for that specific area of responsibility, whether it be fly-away security or providing PSO for individuals." Fullerton said. "Our deployments are shaped around our mission of providing rapidly deployable force protection anytime, anyplace."