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Guardian Challenge 2010 - Day 1 of Security Forces Competition

Space and Missile Systems Center's 61st Security Forces Squadron members from Los Angeles Air Force Base receive instruction from the judges before the start of the tactics competition for Guardian Challenge 2010 May 15. (From left to right) DoD Officers Yvette Perez and Steven Haymes, Staff Sgt. Alex Andriyanov and Tech. Sgt. Rochanapan  Silpe (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

Space and Missile Systems Center's 61st Security Forces Squadron members from Los Angeles Air Force Base receive instructions from Maj. Doug Welter, an observer controller and competition judge from Headquarters Space Command A7S Security Forces before the start of the tactics competition for Guardian Challenge 2010 May 16. (From left to right) DoD Officers Yvette Perez and Steven Haymes, Staff Sgt. Alex Andriyanov and Tech. Sgt. Rochanapan Silpe (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

Space and Missile Systems Center's 61st Security Forces Squadron members from Los Angeles Air Force Base huddle for their strategy before the start of the tactics competition for Guardian Challenge 2010 May 15. (From left to right) DoD Officers Yvette Perez and Steven Haymes, Staff Sgt. Alex Andriyanov and Tech. Sgt. Rochanapan Silpe (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

Space and Missile Systems Center's 61st Security Forces Squadron members from Los Angeles Air Force Base huddle for their strategy before the start of the tactics competition for Guardian Challenge 2010 May 16. (From left to right) DoD Officers Yvette Perez and Steven Haymes, Staff Sgt. Alex Andriyanov and Tech. Sgt. Rochanapan Silpe (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

DoD Officer Yvette Perez, 61st Security Forces Squadron member, surveilles the field during Guardian Challenge 2010's tactics competition May 16. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

DoD Officer Yvette Perez, 61st Security Forces Squadron member, surveilles the field during Guardian Challenge 2010's tactics competition May 16. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

Staff Sgt. Alex Andriyanov from the 61st Security Forces Squadron, Space and Missile Systems Center, heads for cover during the tactics competition at Guardian Challenge May 16, 2010. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

Staff Sgt. Alex Andriyanov from the 61st Security Forces Squadron, Space and Missile Systems Center, heads for cover during the tactics competition at Guardian Challenge 2010's tactics competition May 16. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

61st Security Forces Squadron members collects field intelligence from simulated local nationals during Guardian Challenge 2010's tactics competition May 16 as evaluators assess their performance. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

61st Security Forces Squadron members collect field intelligence information from simulated local nationals during Guardian Challenge 2010's tactics competition May 16 as an evaluator assesses their performance. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

Staff Sgt. Alex Andriyanov from the 61st Security Forces Squadron, Space and Missile Systems Center, checks the injuries on a simulated local national during the tactics competition at Guardian Challenge May 16, 2010. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

Staff Sgt. Alex Andriyanov from the 61st Security Forces Squadron, Space and Missile Systems Center, checks the injuries on a simulated local national during the tactics competition at Guardian Challenge 2010's tactics competition May 16. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

Staff Sgt. Alex Andriyanov from the 61st Security Forces Squadron, Space and Missile Systems Center, checks the injuries on a simulated local national during the tactics competition at Guardian Challenge May 16, 2010. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

Staff Sgt. Alex Andriyanov from the 61st Security Forces Squadron, Space and Missile Systems Center, checks the injuries on a simulated local national during the tactics competition at Guardian Challenge 2010's tactics competition May 16. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

Officer Yvette Perez from the Space and Missile Systems Center's 61st Security Forces Squadron checks for weapons on a simulated captured insurgent while Staff Sgt. Alex Andriyanov provides security coverage during the tactics competition at Guardian Challenge 2010 May 16. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

Officer Yvette Perez from the Space and Missile Systems Center's 61st Security Forces Squadron checks for weapons on a simulated captured insurgent while Staff Sgt. Alex Andriyanov provides security coverage during the tactics competition at Guardian Challenge 2010 May 16. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

DoD Officer Yvette Perez from the 61st Security Forces Squadron, Space and Missile Systems Center, relays intelligence information extracted from one of the simulated insurgents to Maj. Doug Welter, Headquarters Air Force Space Command A7S Security Forces observer controller, during the tactics competition at Guardian Challenge 2010 May 16 (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

DoD Officer Yvette Perez from the 61st Security Forces Squadron, Space and Missile Systems Center, relays intelligence information extracted from one of the simulated insurgents to Maj. Doug Welter, Headquarters Air Force Space Command A7S Security Forces observer controller, during the tactics competition at Guardian Challenge 2010 May 16 (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. -- The 61st Security Forces Squadron team began its Guardian Challenge 2010 campaign with the tactics competition May 16 at the Air Force Academy's Jack's Valley.

The team includes 2nd Lt. Alea Nadeem, team coach; Department of Defense Officers Yvette Perez and Steven Haymes; Tech. Sgts. Rochanapan Silpe and Leslee Williams; and Staff Sgt. Alex Andriyanov.

The scenario was to secure a target area, clear all improvised explosive devices en route, perform a counterinsurgency operation, capture suspected insurgents, and collect intelligence information from the local populace.

"The scenario is close to the reality of current deployed operations," said Lieutenant Nadeem. "Our team trained under similar circumstances in the last month, so we were able to execute all the required maneuvers and tactics."

The training paid off. "By working closely together for 30 days, we gelled together as a cohesive unit," said Officer Haymes. "When we were in the competition, we all knew what our roles were in providing the necessary coverage and protection for one another."

The difficulty the team encountered was the altitude. At more than 6,000 feet above sea level, "oxygen becomes a precious commodity during prolonged physical activities," said Sergeant Silpe. "Even though we trained hard, nothing could really substitute the real environment."

To compensate for this disadvantage, team members acclimated their bodies by running. For example, Sergeant Williams ran about two miles outside. "The adjustment was tremendous, but it's the only way for us prepare effectively for the obstacle course on Day 4," he explained.

 The team will compete in the marksmanship portion on Day 2.