Misawa defenders sweep competition, return as champs

The 35 Security Forces Squadron of the firing team members pause for a photo with the Advanced Combat Skills trophy following the conclusion of the second annual Defenders Challenge held at the Security Forces Regional Training Center at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on June 9, 2017. The competition broke down in five categories including weapons, tactics, combat fitness, mental and physical challenge and military working dogs. At each station the were conducted based on time. (Courtesy photo)

The 35th Security Forces Squadron firing team members pause for a photo with the Advanced Combat Skills trophy following the conclusion of the second annual Defenders Challenge held at the Security Forces Regional Training Center at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on June 9, 2017. The competition was broken into five categories including weapons, tactics, combat fitness, mental and physical challenge and military working dogs. At each station the matches were judged based on time. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Airman Sergio Miranda, a 35th Security Forces Squadron entry controller, pauses for a photo at Misawa Air Base, Japan, June 16, 2017. Miranda won the belt and title of the 2017 Combatives Champion of the second annual Security Forces Advanced Combat Skills Assessment held at the Security Forces Regional Training Center at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, June 4 to 9. The combative portion was the only individual event based out of five events. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie Hutto)

U.S. Air Force Airman Sergio Miranda, a 35th Security Forces Squadron entry controller, pauses for a photo at Misawa Air Base, Japan, June 16, 2017. Miranda won the belt and title of the 2017 Combatives Champion of the second annual Security Forces Advanced Combat Skills Assessment held at the Security Forces Regional Training Center at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, June 4 to 9. The combative portion was the only individual event of the competition. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Melanie Hutto)

Members from the 35th Security Forces Squadron carry miscellaneous items during the second annual Security Forces Advanced Combat Skills Assessment held at the Security Forces Regional Training Center at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, June 6, 2017. More than 100 Airmen and Soldiers throughout the U.S. Pacific Command competed in five categories including weapons, tactics, combat fitness, a mental and physical challenge and military working dogs. Each station conducted evaluations based on time to determine the best marksmen and combat tactics teams in the Pacific Air Forces security forces. The 35th SFS are the advanced Combat Skills champions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gerald R. Willis)

Members from the 35th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) carry miscellaneous items during the second annual Security Forces Advanced Combat Skills Assessment held at the Security Forces Regional Training Center at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, June 6, 2017. More than 100 Airmen and Soldiers throughout the U.S. Pacific Command competed in five categories including weapons, tactics, combat fitness, a mental and physical challenge and military working dogs. Each station conducted evaluations based on time to determine the best marksmen and combat tactics teams in the Pacific Air Forces security forces. The 35th SFS became the advanced Combat Skills champions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Gerald R. Willis)

Members from the 35th Security Forces Squadron congratulate Airman Sergio Miranda, a 35th SFS entry controller, after winning the belt and title of the 2017 Combatives Champion during the second annual Security Forces Advanced Combat Skills Assessment held at the Security Forces Regional Training Center at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, June 8, 2017. More than 100 Airmen and Soldiers throughout the U.S. Pacific Command’s area of responsibility gathered to compete in five different categories: weapons, tactics, combat fitness, mental and physical challenge and military working dog handling. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Quail)

Members from the 35th Security Forces Squadron congratulate Airman Sergio Miranda, a 35th SFS entry controller, after winning the belt and title of the 2017 Combatives Champion during the second annual Security Forces Advanced Combat Skills Assessment held at the Security Forces Regional Training Center at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, June 8, 2017. More than 100 Airmen and Soldiers throughout U.S. Pacific Command’s area of responsibility gathered to compete in five different categories: weapons, tactics, combat fitness, mental and physical challenge and military working dog handling. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher Quail)

U.S. Airmen with the 35th Security Forces Squadron, Misawa Air Base, Japan, assemble an M240 machine gun during the second annual Security Forces Combat Skills Assessment June 6, 2017 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The mental and physical challenge portion tested basic combat skills and knowledge of competitors at different stations along an obstacle course through the jungle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gerald R. Willis)

U.S. Airmen with the 35th Security Forces Squadron, Misawa Air Base, Japan, assemble an M240 machine gun during the second annual Security Forces Combat Skills Assessment at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, June 6, 2017. The mental and physical challenge portion tested basic combat skills and knowledge of competitors at different stations along an obstacle course through the jungle. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Gerald R. Willis)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Victoria Dames, a 35th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, carries MWD Elvis during the second annual Security Forces Advanced Combat Skills Assessment at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, June 6, 2017. The Defenders Challenge provided Airmen with invaluable interaction with other security forces members by exchanging tactics and skills between those in attendance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gerald R. Willis)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Victoria Dames, a 35th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, carries MWD Elvis during the second annual Security Forces Advanced Combat Skills Assessment at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, June 6, 2017. The Defenders Challenge provided Airmen with invaluable interaction with other security forces members by exchanging tactics and skills between those in attendance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gerald R. Willis)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- The roaring crowd gradually wanes, falling on deaf ears, as the last shred of adrenalin jolts through his veins all the while peripheral vision narrows in, fixating on the opponent, and with the strike of the referee’s hands they advance into the tie-up position.

Standing at 5 feet 6 inches, weighing 155 pounds, Airman Sergio Miranda, a 35th Security Forces Squadron entry controller, paled in comparison to his opponent, 5 feet 11 inches and 200lbs, however, it didn’t psych him out.

“We went into three overtimes in addition to the three matches we each won prior to the final round,” Miranda said. “At first I just felt relieved [when it was over]; I was physically exhausted. Overall, it [the win] was a tremendous feeling. I can’t put into words how happy I am.”

A headlock was the final position that earned Miranda the belt and title of the 2017 Combatives Champion during the Defenders Challenge at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

The Tucson, Arizona, native is no stranger to combat sports. Miranda began wrestling in fourth grade and continued through his senior year. Miranda explained how the match in Guam brought back memories from when he was young and competed at the national level.

Upon graduation he stayed true to his passion and coached his former high school wrestling team, but ultimately enlisted in the Air Force 2 years later with his sights set on security forces.

“I wanted to be a cop,” said Miranda. “Being security forces filled my want to serve my country while still accomplishing my desired career path, which incorporated training similar to wrestling.”

Miranda and four other 35th SFS members, including a military working dog duo, volunteered to participate in the second annual Security Forces Advanced Combat Skills Assessment, also referred to as the Defenders Challenge, held at the Security Forces Regional Training Center, June 4 to 9.

“The combative challenge was the concluding and only individual event,” Miranda said. “Being selected for it was nothing short of chance. My performance factored into the overall scoring of all the team events that took place throughout the week.”

The competition was broken into five categories including weapons, tactics, combat fitness, mental and physical challenge and MWDs. Each station conducted evaluations based on time to determine the best marksmen and combat tactics teams in the Pacific Air Forces security forces.

“This was my second time competing in the event,” said Airman 1st Class Andrea Dickel, a 35th SFS entry controller. “I told the RTC personnel to make it more challenging and this year they delivered. I pushed our endurance and I hope it continues to progress.”

The teammates who accompanied Miranda and Dickel included Tech. Sgt. Mike Yurco, Senior Airmen Derrick Turner and Jared Shannon and a MWD duo Staff Sgt. Victoria Dames and MWD Elvis. They operated as a team and strategically out-performed eight other security forces units including an Army unit.

In the end, the 35th SFS team earned the Advanced Combat Skills trophy.

“We trained 30 days prior to the start of the event,” Dickel said. “We pushed our mental and physical being to the extreme and grew stronger as a team. We had the drive to beat our components, but more than anything, we had fun during every course.”

The Defenders Challenge provided the Airmen with invaluable interaction with other security forces members with the exchange of tactics and skills between those in attendance.

"I am truly inspired by the performance of our defenders at the Advanced Combat Skills Assessment,” said Maj. Patrick Gordon, the 35th SFS commander. “The dedication of this unit establishing a culture of precision, agility, strength and tactical prowess has a large part to play in their victory. While this is a huge morale booster, the end result of the sharing of techniques and procedures with other PACAF bases will have a definitive impact on the 35th SFS."