Beyond families, full-time jobs
and their jobs at
the 108th Security Forces Squadron, seven
members of the 108th Air Refueling Wing have a
busy life flying around the world providing security for
AMC aircraft and crew.
These men are part of the team called Ravens
that fly with AMC aircraft to locations where there is
a high terrorist or criminal threat and no direct
American or allied security support.
Gen. Walter Kross, former AMC
Commander, implemented the
Phoenix Raven Program in 1997
in the aftermath of the Khobar
Towers bombing and other
critical events around the world. The Raven program became an
Air Force-wide program in 2004.
Senior Master Sgt. Grieg
Moore, senior member of the
108th Raven team, said that the
team members were some of the
first people activated after 9/11 and
were on active duty for two years.
Many of the senior NCOs were employed as
staging managers during that time period; Moore
served as one in Germany for 10 months helping to
provide site security surveys for Afghanistan. Master
Sgt. Dave Beun has served as staging manager in
Puerto Rico for flights going to South America.
Some of the flights for which the Ravens provide
security are diplomatic support with congressional
delegates and diplomats, often leaving from Andrews
Air Force Base, Md., going any place in the world.
Beun said the last time he counted he had been
to nearly 60 countries. What makes his travels all the
more interesting is that he, like the other 6 on the
team, is a traditional airman. He said his civilian
employer, the Mount Laurel Police Department, has
been very supportive of his regular deployments
around the globe. In fact the Mount Laurel Police have
been doubly supportive of the 108th Ravens as a second member
of the team, Master Sgt. Michael
Rakauckas is also a member of their department.
"All of our families, employers and the wing have
been very supportive and understanding, which is
essential for what we do," said Moore. He cited
his own employer, Blockbuster, where he is the regional
manager for loss prevention for four states. When
Moore returned from his two-year activation after
9/11, the company gave him a certificate
thanking him for the time he spent
helping to keep America safe.
According to Beun and Moore,
2-6 people are on a team for each
trip and the team member can
be left downrange with little
guidance to perform their tasks.
"You may have a situation
with civilians where you have to
negotiate out of a escalating
situation,” said Moore.
Once selected for Ravens
training, airmen attend a two-week
school at the Air Mobility Warfare
Training Center, Fort Dix. Moore and
Beun agreed that the school is physical, rigorous
Days start with a 4-6 mile run, followed by hours
of classes, then more physical training – Ravens are
taught hand-to-hand combat, along with doing
hundreds of push-ups every day. “There are no days
off, a number of night exercises and you learn to
qualify with various weapons,” said Beun.
The 108th Raven team currently has four other
members; all but one has a civilian job in a related
field. Master Sgt. Mark Bajada is with the Dover
Township Police Department, Tech. Sgt. John Bunce
is a police sergeant with Florence Township and
Tech. Sgt. James Hancock is a DEA agent. Senior
Airman Rajhun George is the only one on the team
not working full-time in law enforcement, but since he
is a student, maybe time will tell what his profession