DVIDS – News – Jungle Enforcement Team provides essential protection to Andersen AFB


ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam– The jungle is some of the most difficult terrain for military operations, which puts Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in a unique position. Much of the perimeter of the base is shrouded in thick jungle vegetation which is home to abundant wildlife.

Due to the lack of physical security in the jungle environment, Andersen AFB historically has had chronic issues with poachers and intruders moving beyond the base perimeter. That’s where the Jungle Law Enforcement Team from the 36th Security Forces Squadron comes in.

“JET was created to fill the void in areas where physical security has become less than adequate,” said Master Sgt. Alfredo Gutierrez, 36th SFS Jungle Enforcement Team Leader. “Our ability to enter areas of the jungle that may have gone years without anyone patrolling has given our Defense Force Commander a more complete view and picture of the strategic defense of our areas.”

The JET is made up of 14 members and they start their day by getting ready and going to the perimeter of the base to patrol on all-terrain vehicles, which allows them to better maneuver in the jungle.

“For a normal patrol vehicle it can be difficult to catch someone because they will see the big bulky white vehicle with lights, but with these (ATVs) we can park anywhere and walk around to sneak up on us and catch the intruders,” Gutierrez said.

Spending countless hours in the jungle is not easy, and JET members face many challenges, especially at night. When it’s dark and they have to switch to their night vision goggles to see, fog and rain can affect their visuals. From there they will switch to heat vision, but even then they can only see so far due to the fog.

“You’re pretty much going blind,” said JG, 36th SFS Jungle Team Officer. “You have to use the moon’s ambient lighting and rely on your sense of smell to find poachers and intruders.”

Apart from having visual problems at night, they also have to deal with bad weather and the different species that live in the jungle such as banana spiders, wild boars, wild canines and brown snakes.

“The number one requirement for JET is that you cannot have an aversion to anything like insects, spiders, snakes, wild animals attacking you, and inclement weather,” JG said. “You have to overcome the fear that something is crawling on you in the middle of the night and you can’t turn on your flashlight to see what it is.”

Being fearless isn’t the only requirement for being on the JET. Members must maintain a physical training test score of 90% and above. Individuals must also hold certain certifications and be nominated by their flight leaders.

“Our guys are all about tactical tracking,” Gutierrez said. “We go through the Guam Police Department or the Guam Airport Police Swat, which certifies all of my individuals in case we’re in pursuit or when we’re doing our jungle patrols.”

JET members can also take a jungle course in Hawaii that teaches valuable land navigation skills that can be applied here.

The JET provides an additional barrier to prevent anything from entering Andersen AFB, which is critical to protecting the base and all personnel. Since JET was activated, the number of fence cuts, poachers, trespassers and gunshots has gone down significantly, Gutierrez said.

“I’m grateful to know that we can protect the base the way we do,” Gutierrez said. “I have family who live on the base and I know people who live near the border. It’s nice to be there to protect the base and the staff, even if some of them don’t even know we’re doing it.

Date taken: 29.09.2022
Date posted: 29.09.2022 18:00
Story ID: 430427
Location: YIGO, GU

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