FORT A.P. HILL, Va. -- Two new security guards joined the garrison's front line of defense today when they graduated from the Security Guard Academy here.
Brandon W. Crabtree and Adrian R. Hamm III completed the challenging six-week academy that included pepper spray training, hands-on defensive tactics, handcuffing, baton training and active shooter techniques.
They also receive several hours of classroom training in duties and responsibilities, use of force and legal issues. Crabtree and Hamm qualified on the pistol, rifle and shotgun.
Department of the Army Police Lieutenant Ron Henson, the primary training officer, said the two faced challenges from the weather that included snow, ice and extremely-cold weather but persevered.
Command Sgt. Maj. Keith R. Whitcomb, the garrison command sergeant major, presented their diplomas.
Crabtree is a Soldier in the U.S. Army Reserve's 310th Engineer Company based at Fort A.P. Hill. Before he began the guard academy he worked at the A.P. Hill directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation for two years. This was his first exposure to law enforcement training.
He joined the guard program because he's interested in the criminal justice career field; he said he enjoyed the training academy.
"It was intense but fun, there were lots of new things to learn," he said.
Hamm came to the academy with a solid background in law enforcement--he's an Army Reserve Military Policeman who deployed to Iraq from Oct. 2009 to Aug. 2010.
Before he began the security guard program Hamm worked as an appliance repairman in Fredericksburg, Va. His daily rounds took him from Fredericksburg to Alexandria and west to Winchester -- 250 to 300 miles per day on the road. He's happy now that he has about a 20-mile commute from Fredericksburg to A.P. Hill.
Hamm also enjoyed the security guard training, especially the active shooter drills.
"We got to use simunitions and got to shoot at each other, it makes for a better experience," Hamm said.
Simunitions are non-lethal reduced-energy training rounds that allow users to practice live fire techniques without the danger of real ammunition.
Hamm said his goal is to go on active duty with either the Army or Navy.
Henson said that with the addition of Crabtree and Hamm, he's now trained 14 security guards. The guard's primary mission is access control and security at the post's gates. They free the DA Police to perform law-enforcement missions in support of the garrison.