Ex-Air Marshall:Air Marshall Training a National Disgrace


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Winchester 73
April 17, 2008, 10:05 PM
From the Castro News Network, so veracity cannot be determined.
CNN is investigating.John Kerry and Sheila Jackson Lee are questioning.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/04/16/griffin.marshal.training/index.html

By Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston
CNN Special Investigations Unit

SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- Their mission is to protect airline passengers from acts of terror on U.S. flights. But in a special investigation, former and current air marshals told CNN that the number of marshals assigned to police flights is so low that the federal agency overseeing them has drastically lowered its firearms and psychological testing standards just so it can qualify new hires.

More than a dozen current and former marshals said that so many federal air marshals have resigned and are not being replaced, airport screeners are being employed to fill the dwindling ranks.

But the Transportation Security Administration says that's not true and that the rate of those leaving has remained at 6.5 percent a year since 2001.

A former federal air marshal and weapons trainer who left the agency in 2006 after four years of service said the situation was so bad that managers at his office fudged the numbers by assigning marshals to short, no-risk flights.

The former marshal said that was done to make it appear that the percentage of manned flights was higher than it really was.

"I think it's a national disgrace,'' said the former marshal, who asked not to be identified because he still works in law enforcement.
The Federal Air Marshal Service was greatly expanded in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, when flights to "high-risk cities" such as New York were given special air marshal manpower priority.

Assignments are "intelligence-driven" and "risk-based," the Federal Air Marshal Service said in an e-mail. But many of the marshals interviewed said it had little to do with intelligence or risk and was more about a numbers game.

"We were questioning how these flights could be intelligence-driven when we were flying from San Diego to Phoenix on another leg to Las Vegas back to Phoenix back to San Diego," the former marshal said. "It's not a threat flying on Southwest Airlines to Las Vegas."

Faced with fewer qualified applicants, current air marshals said that recruiting standards have been lowered. Air marshals still patrolling flights also said the loss of so many experienced agents has led the TSA to hire airport screeners as air marshals.

Agency spokesman Greg Alter said in an e-mail that only "a very small number of air marshals started their careers as Transportation Security Officers [airport screeners]."

Alter added that all "candidates receive the best training available and enter the workforce with the skill and expertise needed to protect the traveling public."

In July 2006, the Federal Air Marshal Service sent out a memo saying that new hires would no longer face mandatory psychological testing, unless the recruit admits that he or she has been treated for a mental condition.

TSA said it revised but did not "degrade" the psychological testing of applicants using the application and interaction with others in the service to determine mental competency.

On firearms training, a former weapons instructor with air marshals said that when recruits could not pass the tough federal tactical pistol course, known as the TPC, it was replaced with a less rigorous shooting test the potential recruits could pass.

"The TPC went away very quickly because they couldn't get enough people through it to pass," the former air marshal trainer said. "So they dropped the tactical pistol course and went to the practical pistol course, which is a standard federal law enforcement course. It's not nearly as quick or as dynamic as TPC."

But the TSA disputes the claim, saying it altered the weapons training six years ago because marshals needed more of a police-type training program rather than military-style weapons instruction.

The TSA said in an e-mail that "the course of fire and minimum qualification score air marshal candidates must acquire is the same today as it has been for over six years."

To replace departing air marshals, the TSA hired internally, including some administrative staff who had no college, law enforcement or military backgrounds, one current marshal said.

"To me, it's more of an embarrassment to be a member of that agency that would allow that particular individual in the training program," one marshal said. "I wouldn't want them on my flight. ... I don't want them as my partner."

The revelations come in the wake of a CNN investigation, in which air marshals and pilots said that only about 1 percent of the nation's 28,000 daily domestic flights were protected by onboard, armed federal marshals.

The Federal Air Marshal Service disputes that figure.

CNN's report about the declining number of marshals on planes also got the attention of Congress.

In a congressional hearing this week, the head of the Transportation Security Administration, Kip Hawley, told members of Congress that what CNN heard from the air marshals is wrong.

"I have to just correct on the factual basis on the CNN report about air marshals covering 1 percent. That number is absolutely wrong by an order of magnitude, and it was a guess by the folks there, and I just have to say that number is completely false."

Hawley would not say what percentage of flights has air marshals. That's a national security secret.

The service hides behind national security to keep the public from knowing how thin coverage really is, air marshals said.

The Federal Air Marshal Service continues to refuse CNN's request for an interview.

This month, Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who serves on the Homeland Security Committee, began holding closed-door meetings with the air marshal's service to determine whether congressional oversight committees are getting the truth.

"We will keep working and continuing to make sure that the airlines are served with the appropriate law enforcement that ensures the safety of the traveling public. We, too, are not interested in having funny numbers," Jackson Lee said.

Jackson Lee said that the committee has not finished its work and that she is convinced American air travel is safe for passengers. "It is important to restate and to re-emphasize: This is not an open opportunity for those who would attempt to do Americans harm. We are light years from where we were in 2000. We have trained personnel. They're being utilized, and we feel that we are steps ahead of where we were, but we want to get better. And that's what we intend to do."


After seeing CNN's initial report, Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts sent a letter to Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff asking for clarity on the number of air marshals protecting domestic flights and sought a response by April 11.

The senator is still waiting, Kerry's staff said.

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gym
April 17, 2008, 10:28 PM
I passed that test back in the 60's the first time they gave it, and before I got hired they scrapped the program. The test was tough, all of us passed the NYPD test, but I was the only one that aced that exam,and it would have been a cake job. It's funny I remerber the physical on the NYPD, was 10 pull ups, 70lbs in each hand above your head, a 10 ft wall to scale, 100 sit ups in a certain amount of time, and a long jump. That's what I remember, then they got sued and were forced to lower the standard so women and little guys could pass too. Considering most guys back then didn't work out like later in the 70's and 80's, a 70 lb dumbell was very heavy for the average guy. And I believe there was a clean and jerk with 100 lbs. but I couldn't believe they made it so a 100 lb guy or girl could become a NYC cop. Just for showing up basically.

Dienekes
April 17, 2008, 10:33 PM
Pretty startling seeing the names of the froot loops allegedly in charge of this mess. Curly, Moe, and Shemp would be about as inspiring.

I wouldn't trust those folks to pick up my garbage, let alone run a security system.

The Israelis must be convinced we're nuts.

USMC 1975
April 18, 2008, 07:08 AM
" The Israelis must be convinced we're nuts. "

There isn't another government in the world that I know of that can outperform the Israelis or who has a better airline safety system in place. These people are world leaders in security.

You never want to screw around on an Israeli airliner. :)

Chris

Gunnerpalace
April 18, 2008, 09:55 AM
100 sit ups

If someone could explain to me how a sit-up or push-up makes me a better shot, I would understand this better.

slowworm
April 18, 2008, 11:24 AM
There isn't another government in the world that I know of that can outperform the Israelis or who has a better airline safety system in place. These people are world leaders in security.


True that. Of course you also need to turn up hours before a flight.

Security like that would kill business travel dead in the US with a single stroke.

Is the hit to the economy really worth it? Look at the numbers of deaths on the road, yet there is no call for everyone to drive a vehicle with the performance of a golf cart.

Elza
April 18, 2008, 11:39 AM
Air marshals still patrolling flights also said the loss of so many experienced agents has led the TSA to hire airport screeners as air marshals.Take a typical TSA screener (megalomaniacal, “I got the power so screw you” moron), hand them a gun, and make them an air marshal. Now there's a good idea!!! :scrutiny:

Sergeant Sabre
April 18, 2008, 11:48 AM
Take a typical TSA screener (megalomaniacal, “I got the power so screw you” moron)

I fail to understand how we can make sweeping, negative generalizations about groups, then get all bent out of shape when somebody does the same thing with "typical" gun-owners (fat, paranoid, trigger-happy, "2nd Amendment blah blah so screw you" stupid hick redneck). :rolleyes:

That said, knowing one person who was hired as an Air Marshall, I have to think that the standards can't be real high.

CNYCacher
April 18, 2008, 11:51 AM
I dunno, core strength is pretty important GunnerPalace.

I suspect the situps is just a quantifiable way to establish some measurable level of physical fitness.

benEzra
April 18, 2008, 11:54 AM
If someone could explain to me how a sit-up or push-up makes me a better shot, I would understand this better.
It makes you a better officer, and a better fighter in hand-to-hand or grappling. Abdominals are where your core strength comes from, and upper-body strength is necessary for a lot of rescue/EMT type stuff.

Police do more than just shoot guns.

Gunnerpalace
April 18, 2008, 12:12 PM
It makes you a better officer, and a better fighter in hand-to-hand or grappling. Abdominals are where your core strength comes from, and upper-body strength is necessary for a lot of rescue/EMT type stuff.

So it doesnt make me a better shot? :scrutiny:

Standing Wolf
April 18, 2008, 12:21 PM
If government is the answer, it must have been a really stupid question.

woodybrighton
April 18, 2008, 12:27 PM
looked into being a uk air marshal then decided a year of airline travel would leave me insane :evil:

strat81
April 18, 2008, 12:29 PM
So it doesnt make me a better shot?
Go to the range and shoot your pistol. Then, do a 40-yard dash, 30 quick situps, 15 quick push-ups, and/or 15 quick pull-ups.
Go fire the pistol again without taking a rest.

An increased heart rate can wreak havoc on your ability to aim. Increased heart rates can come from physical as well as mental stress.

An analogy would be race car drivers. Physical training is a large part of a professional driver's (NASCAR, F1, IRL, etc) training regimen. "But all they do is sit in a car." Not so. Same for shooters.

Otaku201
April 18, 2008, 12:41 PM
I really hope that article is full of lies or exagerations. A few months ago I talked to an air marshall in person about if he liked his job. He says the hardest part about the training is firearm proficiency, need to be able to draw from the holster and shoot target in the head in 1.5 seconds.

gym
April 18, 2008, 12:45 PM
Thanks guys I found that a strange response as well (the sit ups). You had to be at a certain leval of fittness to be able to restrain multiple attackers, or just one guy. Then the academy training followed, you still had to take the required training I think at the time they were using the old Police academy. Gunner that's like saying why do fire fighters have to go through 6 months of training to hold a hose. It's much more involved than being a good shot. You have to learn all kinds of things like profiling hand to hand combat, along with edged weapon training, it's not like a guy just sits there and waits for someone to pop up and shoots them.

ArmedBear
April 18, 2008, 01:06 PM
Hell, air marshal training may be a joke, but a "national disgrace"?

I think that the national disgrace is TSA people violating old ladies with walkers on the way to visit their new great grandkids while people who actually fit the profile of hijackers stroll through the gates, in the name of celebrating diversity.

LeonCarr
April 18, 2008, 01:20 PM
The old Federal Air Marshal qualification course is available here:

http://www.thegunzone.com/fam-lawman/fam-qual.html

Pretty tough. Not impossible with some practice, but pretty tough :).

Does anybody have the new course they shoot?

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

ArmedBear
April 18, 2008, 01:30 PM
If you ask me, I think they should have a reserve program. People who fly a lot, some flight attendants, etc. can sign up.

Psych-profile them, train them, test them, whatever you want, just like full-time officers. Than let them serve as air marshals. Let it be known that, if you want to do anything on a plane, somebody on it will be trained and armed.

Then, move on. Stop all this stupid over-the-top TSA crap, stop throwing away stuff like a computer tech's $80 Leatherman tool (happened to a co-worker), stop dumping out some socialite's makeup, and let me bring !@#$ing WATER on the plane. Water is kind of, you know, necessary for life.

At the very least, do SOMETHING to make it convenient for people instead of as inconvenient as possible. If I have my trusty Swiss Army Knife in my pocket, at least let me tag it, and throw it in a box, so I can pick it up at my destination airport later. These boxes could be flown around with every plane with little expense, and an enormous increase in the happiness of the average American beleaguered air traveler. How hard would that be? What sort of ******* bureaucratic mentality does it take for someone NOT to implement that system?

feedthehogs
April 18, 2008, 02:10 PM
What federal program is not a joke to some extent?
Why should this one be any different.

What the federal government and its programs are good at is creating an illusion when in fact homeland security is a chunk of swiss cheese.
Like any business, its only as good as its employees. A quick look at TSA kind tells you who sucking up my tax dollars.

bigjohnson
April 18, 2008, 02:30 PM
One of my best friends is a firearms instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) at Artesia, NM.
According to him, the Air Marshals that attended FLETC at Artesia were a joke. Many of them were guards from the US Bureau of Prisons who transferred to the Air Marshal program, and were "dim bulbs" to put it mildly. He actually stated that most of them were "morons". My friend's recommendation was not to fly on ANY commercial flight in the US. This man is a retired federal law-enforcement officer with many years of experience, and I trust his opinions without reservation.

ctdonath
April 18, 2008, 02:31 PM
If someone could explain to me how a sit-up or push-up makes me a better shot, I would understand this better.
Getting to where you can make that shot may require going to/over/around/thru things/people - and doing so very fast. Anyone incapable of a mere 100 situps is not likely to get there fast enough.

Sebastian the Ibis
April 18, 2008, 02:37 PM
Armed Bear- Singapore Airlines tags your stuff for you and gives it back when you get off the flight. Great Airline, I wish American Airlines could be nearly as good.

Has anyone else out there noticed how stupid government hiring is? USA jobs doesn't even have air marshal listed:

http://jobsearch.usajobs.gov/jobsearch.asp?re=5&pg=1&q=Transportation+Security+Administration&FedEmp=N&sort=rv&vw=d&ss=0&brd=3876&FedPub=Y&caller=%2Fagency_search.asp

That's a great job for someone right out of the service or college, but they don't even advertise it.

If they really wanted to do this program right they should have some program where vets/people with security clearances etc. get trained to shoot on a plane and then can fly for a nominal fee.

$100 round trip somewhere each weekend - I think I could do that.

trinydex
April 18, 2008, 03:52 PM
If someone could explain to me how a sit-up or push-up makes me a better shot, I would understand this better.
perhaps it must be explained to you that law enforcement isn't about shooting people.

Gunnerpalace
April 18, 2008, 07:04 PM
perhaps it must be explained to you that law enforcement isn't about shooting people.

I know,

It isn't,

I am talking about the mentality that people have that if you can do 100 push-up's it somehow makes you able to hit a target 1000 yards away with 1MOA.

gym
April 18, 2008, 08:10 PM
I like Bears idea, sign up get tested, and be on reserve type thing.Where you can make some additional income flying on demand like that.

Gunnerpalace
April 18, 2008, 08:16 PM
I approve of that idea, a sort of Reserve flight security it could be called.

WayneConrad
April 18, 2008, 09:03 PM
Only a few years ago, due to mismanagement, it was easy to spot the air marshals. Sweetie did it pretty often. On those flights where she did not spot them, there probably wasn't one. It was that obvious.

Could their management still be dumb as a stump? I can believe it.

rainbowbob
April 18, 2008, 09:11 PM
$100 round trip somewhere each weekend - I think I could do that.

Wait a minute...You're going to pay them to let you be an air marshall?

Drail
April 19, 2008, 07:54 AM
Currently I feel that the entire U S Government is a national disgrace.

tepin
April 19, 2008, 08:21 AM
Air Marshal? :scrutiny:
The only thing that has changed post 9/11 with regard to homeland security is additional baggage screening at the airport. We are essentially no safer today than pre 9/11 and there is no plan for coordinating effectively between federal, state and local first responders after a major attack and we certainly don’t need to mention the shortage of equipment & training for first responders. The Air Marshals’ are mostly ineffective. The program is PR feel-good stuff for the public.

Aguila Blanca
April 19, 2008, 12:16 PM
If the Feds were serious about air travel security, they would establish some fairly basic way to verify that CCW holders are not security threats (perhaps a low-level security check, like the National Agency Check I went through for a Secret clearance when I was in the Army), and then allow those CCW holders who pass the check to carry when flying.

Simple.

Which, of course, is why it won't happen. It doesn't create a new agency and give some political appointee a big budget and a huge department to control, so it has no sales appeal inside the beltway.

Ghost Tracker
April 19, 2008, 01:08 PM
Heck, I WANT the best & toughest to be in the U.S. Air Marshal Service. But, since we're still operating in a free-market economy, we've got to PAY them at least as well as the Private Sector is willing to offer. As the old racing saying reminds us..."Speed costs money. How fast do you wanna' go?"

Destructo6
April 19, 2008, 01:35 PM
Heck, I WANT the best & toughest to be in the U.S. Air Marshal Service. But, since we're still operating in a free-market economy, we've got to PAY them at least as well as the Private Sector is willing to offer. As the old racing saying reminds us..."Speed costs money. How fast do you wanna' go?"
Nice Mad Max quote.

Pay isn't really a great factor as far as these guys leaving the FAMs. A lot of the initial post-9/11 FAMs left other federal LE positions and received some sort of pay incentive to do so.

A ton of the FAMs came from the Border Patrol right after 9/11. They were promised and, for a time, received a pretty nice deal. It went something like 3 days of long flights, 1 day of training, and 1 day of admin time per work week. They were taking the kinds of flights that would be most risky to have hijacked (big plane, lots of passengers, and lots of fuel).

Later, some FBI higher-ups took over the reigns and wanted to boost numbers. So, instead of doing fewer flights on large juicy targets, they were taking lots of flights on commuters. Eg from Las Vegas to Phoenix to LA to Reno, back to Vegas. Also, their admin and training days were cut down drastically, in order to get in more short flights.

So, numbers up, morale drastically down, and mission not really any better accomplished than before.

That's pretty universal, according to the 20 or so former FAMs that have I've spoken with and know.

Ghost Tracker
April 19, 2008, 01:59 PM
Mad Max stole the quote from the legendary Junior Johnson (who stole it from someone even older) :D.

You obviously know a LOT more about the Air Marshall situation than do I. But the various (all) Government Service organizations need to realize what we employers in the Private Sector already know. If you want to RECRUIT & KEEP the best pros available, you've got to PAY & TREAT them...like you KNOW they're the BEST. You won't fool them & they won't fool themselves. Skilled, smart, honest, capable folks are getting harder & harder to find. Ditto for people to MANAGE those folks. When you throw into the mix the general apathy of Public Service Administrators AND the legislators who fund them...it's no surprise the morale & performance levels are disappointing to both the Marshals AND the people who depend on them. Again, it's bureaucrats (lower & higher level) who keep the front-line from doing their job. It almost always is! Leadership (like crap) runs downhill. Responsibility, however, runs from bottom to top.

Erik
April 19, 2008, 03:57 PM
Regardless of what course of fire they're currently using, the FAMs training is more involved and complete than the majority of programs seen across the nation, if not world. And as pointed put, there is much more to it than being able to shoot well, which, as a whole, they value more than most.

pbearperry
April 19, 2008, 04:12 PM
The Government at this point is totally unable to accomplish any task be it simple or difficult.Red tape slows everything down to a crawl,and all the Bosses are given the jobs as favors,not because they are competant.Any questions?

frankie_the_yankee
April 19, 2008, 04:13 PM
You guys dump on FAM's all you want. I taught an NRA Basic Pistol class to a police Explorer troop a couple of years ago. The troop leader (a cop) brought a friend along to serve as an RO. The guy happened to be an FAM.

After the course work was done we all did some informal shooting. FWIW, the FAM guy was absolutely lights out. One of the best draw and fire shooters I had ever seen.

So go ahead, rag all you want. But if you're on a flight and trouble breaks out, you'd want this guy on board for sure.

MAKster
April 19, 2008, 09:32 PM
After 9/11 when the Air Marshal program was revitalized there was a wave of officers from other federal law enforcement agencies who join the Air Marshal program because it became so high profile. After a few months most of these new FAMs realized they made a big mistake. Having to fly on an airliner on a daily basis is terrible and boring. Most went back to their old jobs. Also, once steel cockpit doors were installed on planes the need for Air Marshals dropped as well.

CypherNinja
April 20, 2008, 12:23 AM
If government is the answer, it must have been a really stupid question.

Sigged. :D

LoadedDrum
April 20, 2008, 08:00 AM
You never want to screw around on an Israeli airliner.


Don't mess with the Zohan.

BRASSM
April 20, 2008, 03:09 PM
Now I remember why I do my best not to fly commercial flight.

Chris McClinch
April 20, 2008, 05:42 PM
I am talking about the mentality that people have that if you can do 100 push-up's it somehow makes you able to hit a target 1000 yards away with 1MOA.

Where in this thread has this been said or even hinted at? The discussion of physical fitness standards was raised in the context of other sets of law enforcement standards that have been lowered to let less-qualified candidates qualify. The original post on the subject had nothing to do with tying physical fitness to shooting ability, and neither has any other post in this thread other than yours.

jeff-10
April 20, 2008, 05:50 PM
The problem is we have a huge military, local and federal police force and only so many people to choose from to man these positions. If you think there are a bunch of men who are a cross between Jerry Miculek and Tito Ortiz waiting to sign up for these positions you are wrong. For the most part its employees in places like TSA and the Bureau of Prisons that are interested in these types of jobs. Try finding a couple hundred adult Americans who can run 5 kilometers do a hundred push-ups and be trained to shoot like champs. It isn't easy.

Chris McClinch
April 20, 2008, 05:58 PM
For the most part its employees in places like TSA and the Bureau of Prisons that are interested in these types of jobs. Try finding a couple hundred adult Americans who can run 5 kilometers do a hundred push-ups and be trained to shoot like champs. It isn't easy.

It's even more difficult when you consider that the average candidate isn't going to leave money on the table to become an air marshal. For a screener or a guard, a position as an air marshal isn't a pay cut. For your former soldier or former police officer, the air marshal service pays less than you could make in the private sector.

tommytrauma
April 20, 2008, 11:01 PM
I am talking about the mentality that people have that if you can do 100 push-up's it somehow makes you able to hit a target 1000 yards away with 1MOA.

I haven't seen such a belief put forth. However...

I perfom fine motor tasks under significant stress routimely as part of my job, often after having to physically exert myself. A solid level of underlying physical fitness is a huge asset in being able to do so.

If a person wants to be able to accurately shoot when his symathetic nervous systen is all riles up, being in shape only makes sense. An employer looking for such has to set benchmarks and standards.

USMC 1975
April 21, 2008, 07:39 AM
As a seasoned flier who has traveled the world many times, I can tell you that I wouldn't want a FAM job for nothing.

Anyone flown lately and experienced the low morale of airline employees ? Anyone had their bags lost ? Anyone experience slow and miserable service on board a long haul flight ? Anyone had their flight canceled and been rerouted through God knows where to get to their destination ?

Forget it. I wouldn't want this job for nothing. There was a time when flying was really something to experience. You dressed up to board a plane and once on board was treated with respect, plenty of smiles and great service.

Now days, because of low fares, you have the Greyhound bus crowd flying in pajama's, some are half drunk, screaming for service and acting like spoiled brats. The rest wouldn't understand airline travel etiquette if it bit them in the a*&.

No thanks, they can keep their FAM job. I have a lot of respect for these guys and gals who do it. I get stressed out of my mind flying from FL to Michigan from just wondering if I will arrive during that week and where my bags may end up.

JMHO,

Chris

McCall911
April 21, 2008, 08:15 AM
knowing one person who was hired as an Air Marshall, I have to think that the standards can't be real high.
__________________

Ditto!

The Air(head) Marshall that I know couldn't poor manure out of a boot!

Erik
April 21, 2008, 03:04 PM
"It's even more difficult when you consider that the average candidate isn't going to leave money on the table to become an air marshal. For a screener or a guard, a position as an air marshal isn't a pay cut. For your former soldier or former police officer, the air marshal service pays less than you could make in the private sector."

Most military and LEO personnel would experience a significant pay increase in accepting a position as a FAM, if not in the first few years, over all. If you see a FAM, you're seeing a low 6 figure g-man, most likely.

Is there an avenue available in the private sector for former military and LEO personnel? Certainly, and the incentives can be impressive. But there aren't that many such oportunities and... those taking them are typically out of the game at that point, anyway. They are "golden parachute" positions, more or less, for the few. IN the game? There's a relatively short list of non-supervisory 6 figure LEO jobs and FAMs are on it.

But there's more to life than pay, and that's the root of any hiring and retention problems the FAM program may or may not have.

FourTeeFive
July 15, 2008, 02:58 PM
http://www.tsa.gov/press/happenings/world_marksmanship_record.shtm

Federal Air Marshal Sets World Marksmanship Record

July 2, 2008

A New York federal air marshal, considered one of the fastest shooters in the world, set a new world marksmanship record after shooting the "Roundabout" in 8.08 seconds during the "Speed-On-Steel Championships."

The June 13-14 competition was hosted by Old Bridge Rifle & Pistol Club, a premier shooting club in Middlesex County, N.J.

Each Roundabout stage requires a shooter to draw his or her pistol, hit four steel targets and then hit the stop target, stopping the clock. Shooters are graded on the accuracy of their shots, with misses resulting in a time penalty. With unmatched speed, the air marshal averaged 2.02 seconds per single run.

Facing 125 of the region's top shooters, the New York air marshal also won the overall title in the seven stage pistol competition. He is not being identified because he is one of the thousands of federal air marshals who blend in with the traveling public to provide security on commercial aircraft.

The Federal Air Marshal Service has long been recognized as having one of the highest marksmanship standards in federal law enforcement. "Marksmanship is a key component of federal air marshal training," said New York Special Agent in Charge Felix Jimenez.

"The Federal Air Marshal Service has attracted many excellent marksmen over the years. It is no surprise to learn we have one of the best here in New York."

TexasSkyhawk
July 15, 2008, 03:54 PM
They have a training program for federal air marshals?

If someone could explain to me how a sit-up or push-up makes me a better shot, I would understand this better.

Shooting is rarely your first option or choice on an airplane, and in all honesty, it's something you DON'T want to do. And not because of the Hollywood BS about a little bullet hole in the skin causing the airliner to blow up and have people sucked out, blah blah blah.

It's because you are dealing with extremely tight quarters.

We had to get some fairly extensive "airline training" since we always flew armed. It's not rocket science and it's about awareness and proper reaction. And quite honestly, there isn't enough money in the U.S. Treasury to ever make me want to be an air marshal--even KNOWING that the liklihood of anything happening is almost zilch. (Of course, all it takes is one incident. . .)

Immediately after 9/11 when all the hype about "putting more air marshals" was being praised as salvation, we quietly tried to introduce a better plan.

That plan was to allow all law enforcement and special operations military folks to fly for free. . . armed, of course.

Airlines wouldn't even discuss it.

Jeff

Mr_Rogers
July 15, 2008, 04:15 PM
TexasSkyhawk
Not surprised the airlines did not like the idea of general armed passengers. Airline management lives in its own ivory tower. The only information that gets considered is provided by lackeys whose greatest job security is -- dah dah - to provide only the information management wants to hear. After Sept11 one airline purchased hundreds of Tasers for use by pilots without getting FAA approval for use. The airline was absolutely sure the FAA would go along. I guess those Tasers are still in storage somewhere because the airline never did get FAA approval.

In Gulf War One I was an airline pilot with one of the major airlines ferrying troops. Since I had been a flight instructor in Saudi Arabia I knew quite a few senior Saudi Air Force officers and I spoke a bit of Arabic. I volunteered to join the operations team in Saudi Arabia.

The reply - sorry no can do, you are not MANAGEMENT.

shouldifail
July 16, 2008, 12:32 AM
i just did some work for an air marshall.
got in with the DOD after he did his stint as a marine. one of the most quiet, reserved, laid back guys i have met in a long time. not the kind of guy to toot his own horn. took awhile for him to open up and talk about what he does.
from what he said, as a federal air marshall, he is required to train alot.
currently on his 3rd issue pistol. wore the other two out. shoots 3 gun matches in his off time. says he trains hard so should he ever needs to do "his job" it will come easy.
last time i saw him he was nursing broken ribs from hand to hand training. krav maga, and "some delta force BS" as he referred to it. lots of cross training with the "d-boys" from what i understand.
he said that the majority of the flights hes been on have been higher potential for risk, overseas, etc. but that on domestic flights, pilots are armed alot of the time.
regular guy like you and i....one would not suspect that he would be anything other than a guy just trying to get somewhere. carried a full size sig, undetectable. and i was looking for it!
i would guess that as with anything, dedication, skill, proficiency, and abilith are going to vary on a person to person basis. this guy seems like one that you would want to be on board should bad things happen on your flight.
just my $.02.

Dravur
July 16, 2008, 01:01 AM
These boxes could be flown around with every plane with little expense, and an enormous increase in the happiness of the average American beleaguered air traveler. How hard would that be? What sort of ******* bureaucratic mentality does it take for someone NOT to implement that system?

because you don't give up your knife at the plane, but at baggage screening....They don't have a magic box that would beam your particular knife to your particular plane....

I guess they could use the honor system, where Mohammed Jihad gets his knife back and is told to put it in the lockbox on the plane... That might work...

Probably do the same with guns....

Haemon
July 16, 2008, 03:37 AM
Only one way to get to the bottom of this -- congressional oversight. I think it's a bit foolish to take for granted either the claims of the TSA administrators or employees. These are some pretty disturbing allegations, so I believe the flying public deserves a bit more than "assurances" and media flak responses before the issue goes away.

There's a reason far having three separate branches of governemnt, and this is one. If a gov't agency might not be doing its job, I need my reps in DC (regardless of party) to be on their cases like white on rice.

Regolith
July 16, 2008, 04:05 AM
because you don't give up your knife at the plane, but at baggage screening....They don't have a magic box that would beam your particular knife to your particular plane....


Or, after the passengers have finished loading, they can hand the box to somebody whose job is to - get this - walk over and put the box on the plane. Much better to wait a few extra minutes on the tarmac while they load the box into the cargo hold than lose your $80 leatherman because you forgot to put it in your checked luggage.

wideym
July 16, 2008, 05:02 AM
With the knowlege of what the 9/11 highjackers intended and did with the highjacked planes, todays airline passengers are more likely to stomp an attempted highjacker to death.

9/11 upped the ante, if you think you are going to die while your plane is being used as a guided missle, then it's better to take your chances against the highjackers with fist, foot, and teeth.

The idea of an armed air marshall is more of a deterant, you will still have highjackings or attempted highjackings.

Oh yeah, if you "forgot" to pack your $80 leatherman, then you deserve to lose it. The world has changed since 9/11 and not much for the better, get used to it, because it's not going to change back ever again.

Dravur
July 16, 2008, 09:18 AM
Or, after the passengers have finished loading, they can hand the box to somebody whose job is to - get this - walk over and put the box on the plane. Much better to wait a few extra minutes on the tarmac while they load the box into the cargo hold than lose your $80 leatherman because you forgot to put it in your checked luggage.

Have you actually flown lately? They do not take your knife at boarding... they take it at baggage/Security check.. this is in the terminal at the airport, not out on the concourses. So, with hundreds of planes, they now have to install a system to move small boxes to these planes.... and if you are running a bit late, then do they have to make a special trip to your plane? This adds man hours and new systems... at a cost....

Or, they could just tell you in advance not to bring them or put them in your checked luggage. Which is more cost effective?

DRZinn
July 16, 2008, 10:02 AM
if you "forgot" to pack your $80 leatherman, then you deserve to lose it. The world has changed since 9/11 and not much for the better, get used to it, because it's not going to change back ever again.You are part of the problem.

Doggy Daddy
July 16, 2008, 10:28 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Standing Wolf

If government is the answer, it must have been a really stupid question.

Sigged.

ditto!

Thanks, Wolf.

SSN Vet
July 16, 2008, 11:17 AM
business as usual in our kinder and gentler p.c. federal agencies.

ZMP_CTR
July 16, 2008, 11:25 AM
In response to some earlier posts about being fit helping your shooting. Being fit helps in everything you do. Breath control, stamina, and reflexes are just to name a few. I was in the military and the only people I remember saying that being fit didn't help with the job were the folks who were out of shape.

I am friends with an Air Marshall. He trains a lot and has not voiced any concerns to me.

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