727th AMS PAX conducts joint X-ray training

Paul Nicholls, Stansted Airport security trainer, details security check point protocol dos and don’ts May, 5, 2017, with passenger service agents assigned to the 727th Air Mobility Squadron on RAF Mildenhall, England. Passenger service agents from RAF Mildenhall organized the joint training to share knowledge and experience. Training spanned three days and was held at Stansted and RAF Mildenhall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justine Rho)

Paul Nicholls, Stansted Airport security trainer, details security check point protocol dos and don’ts May, 5, 2017, with passenger service agents assigned to the 727th Air Mobility Squadron on RAF Mildenhall, England. Passenger service agents from RAF Mildenhall organized the joint training to share knowledge and experience. Training spanned three days and was held at Stansted and RAF Mildenhall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justine Rho)

RAF MILDENHALL, England – Passenger service agents assigned to the 727th Air Mobility Squadron conducted multi day training with their counterparts from Stansted Airport near London. Security trainers led the course at both passenger terminals to create a cohesive learning environment to pull knowledge from personnel at both locations.

The final day of the course was May 5, 2017, at the RAF Mildenhall passenger terminal.

Team Mildenhall passenger service agents took the initiative to organize the course due to an all-around interest for in-depth and hands-on X-ray training.

“We approached Stansted, the nearest international airport to RAF Mildenhall, to acquire the high level of X-ray security training that we required,” said Elaine Dawson, 727th AMS passenger service agent. “The course benefited both teams for several reasons.”

The Stansted security team agreed to the joint training because they also saw benefits from working with their base counterparts.

“The joint training allowed us to share best practices and work together to ensure good aviation safety all around,” said Kitty Nash, Stansted lead security trainer. “This was a great opportunity for trainers to work with a different type of security environment.”

During the portion of the course held at the British airport, participants learned from real-time experience at one of the airport’s security check points. The training course covered topics including prohibited and dangerous goods, current threats, firearms and explosives, and bag searching. Additionally, participants were given the opportunity to take the national x-ray competency test.

The airport security locations are unique for various reasons, one being their customers, which broadens the range of shared knowledge. One specific variable – the difference in X-ray equipment – created a training opportunity for both teams.

“The on-base training is designed specifically to increase the ability of terminal staff to operate the astrophysics X-ray machines, which is different from the model used at Stansted,” said Dawson.

Regardless of their differences, both security teams share the mission to maintain safety of their facility, aircraft, personnel and passengers.

“We have the same protocol – we make sure the customer feels safe and secure, and maintain our professionalism,” said Paul Nicholls, Stansted security trainer. “Sometimes we are put on the spot because of difficult customers. But normally flyers are cooperative because at the end of the day it’s their safety we have in mind.”

Both security teams have agreed to schedule additional joint training later this year.

"We really enjoyed working with the team at Mildenhall. They made us feel welcome and we were encouraged by their enthusiasm to do a good job," said Nicholls.