Navy Seaman Jason Sukhu, a hospital corpsman assigned to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., volunteered to join the medical center’s auxiliary security force to put him a step ahead of his peers. Navy photo illustration by Petty Officer 2nd Class William Phillips
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Face of Defense: Sailor Gains New Perspective Through Auxiliary Duty
By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class William Phillips
Naval Support Activity Bethesda
BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 2, 2017 — When Navy Seaman Jason Sukhu, a hospital corpsman, arrived at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he was asked if he wanted to volunteer for a collateral duty.
“I had heard while I was in ‘A’ school that collateral duties would help me get a good [evaluation]. So I said yes and they sent me to the ASF academy,” Sukhu said. Sailors attend A School to receive technical training in their ratings.
He joined the medical center’s auxiliary security force to put him a step ahead of his peers by having a collateral duty, but now finds the ASF to be a fun way to get a different perspective on other sailors’ jobs.
ASF personnel are active duty service members who augment base security personnel during contingencies, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, civil disturbances, exercises and special events that require heightened levels of security
“I like the mentality of the [master-at-arms],” Sukhu said. “They seem to have more camaraderie than most people on base. It makes me feel like more of a team member rather than being an [individual.]”
ASF is important to leaders, said Navy Capt. Marvin L. Jones, the Naval Support Activity Bethesda commander.
“When I speak to the leaders on base about our ASF team and request their support, I always ask them to send us their very best people,” Jones said. “We need the motivated sailor or soldier that is sharp, dedicated — one who will sweat the small stuff and be able to catch something that other people might not catch. That’s what helps keep the entire base safe.”
First Line of Defense
Members of ASF are the first line of defense when it comes to base security.
“Our ASF team is important because, along with the master-at-arms, they are our first line of defense,” Jones said. “Whether it is a brand new E-1 reporting to their first duty station or the President of the United States, our ASF members are the first people they see when then they enter this base.”
The ASF academy is a three-week course that teaches members how to properly do their job while standing watch.
“The ASF academy was a lot of fun,” Sukhu said. “It was three weeks long and during the first week we were in class learning about the rules and the theory of how to do everything like how to take down a suspect. We also learned about the deadly force continuum. The next two weeks are the hands on portion with exercises like the [pepper spray] course and the gun range.”
Sukhu said that he was able to use his training during a concert held at NSAB earlier this year.
“When I was activated for the Styx concert I was able to use a verbal de-escalation technique,” Sukhu said. “During the concert there was someone there that was too drunk and was being kicked out of the concert, and we had to go and de-escalate the situation by calming him down.”
And, every day can be different depending on where the ASF member is assigned.
“Depending on which gate you have, it dictates what your job for the day will be. If I’m at Gate One or Gate Two, it means I’ll primarily be scanning IDs, but if I’m at [Gate Five], then I’ll be doing commercial vehicle inspections.
“I would like to be a part of ASF for as long as I’m at the command,” Sukhu said.