TAMPA, Fla. --
“Only 10 more seconds!” shouts Tech. Sgt. Isaac Dobson, the NCO in charge of 6th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) marine patrol as two Airmen in Airman battle uniforms (ABU) tread water at Bobby Hicks Pool in Tampa, Florida July 21, 2016.
Ten seconds later, both Airmen hoist themselves out of the pool, completely soaked head-to-toe.
Staff Sgt. Zachary Tierney, an installation patrolman and Airman 1st Class Austin Dyson, an entry controller, both assigned to the 6th SFS, have just completed the marine patrol tryout.
“It was exhausting,” said Dyson. “I am pretty sure I was about to blackout at one point.”
Both Airmen had to keep their heads above water while in their ABUs for five minutes, as well as swim a 200-meter freestyle in under eight minutes, and swim 25 meters underwater without breaking the surface.
“It’s all mental,” said Tierney. “You just have to let your mind tell your body to keep going.”
However, Dyson and Tierney’s success is only the beginning of the process to join marine patrol, MacDill’s waterborne police force.
MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. presents a unique security forces situation due to its location. Being on a peninsula, the only barrier between the base and Tampa Bay is the coast.
“Marine patrol safeguards MacDill’s largest perimeter; the coastline,” said Senior Airman Craig Jackson, marine patrol crewmember assigned to the 6th SFS.
With 7.2 miles of coastline around MacDill, marine patrol operates 24/7, making it the only Air Force base with an around-the-clock police force on the water.
“There is always a patrol team on the water at all times,” added Officer Dana Jette, a civilian marine patrol crewmember assigned to the 6th SFS.
The patrolmen detect and deter any person or vessel in the restricted area.
Any vessel spotted in the restricted area is investigated by a patrolman and issued a citation at the crewmember’s discretion. Most of the time, it’s only a boater who has lost their way.
Marine patrol also has a symbiotic relationship with the U.S. Coast Guard. Both entities provides assistance to one another. Marine patrol’s relationship with the Coast Guard allows for a dependable partner to count on in a time of need.
This is why Dyson and Tierney have decided to join MacDill’s premier waterborne police force. They want to be the elite, helping secure MacDill’s coastline.