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Security Forces Assistance Brigade

Wanted: Best of the best

Northwest Guardian

Published: 02:52PM January 11th, 2018

For those looking for a way to deploy and serve the country within a small operations unit, and possibly move up the ranks quickly while learning advanced medical, weapons and technical skills, applying to be a member of the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade might be an option.

SFAB leaders from Fort Bragg, N.C., came to French Theater at Lewis Main Tuesday for an information and recruitment briefing about the relatively-new brigades.

The 1st SFAB was created in 2017 and was the first permanent unit of its kind in the Army dedicated to advising and assisting partner nations in developing security force capabilities. That unit trains at Fort Benning, Ga.

The 2nd SFAB will be composed of more than 800 service members training at Fort Bragg, N.C.

“This is a big deal; you’re going to be part of something great,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston, command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Forces Command, at Fort Bragg.

Grinston, former I Corps command sergeant major, returned to JBLM along with the other SFAB leadership for the recruiting event and for a mission readiness brief at I Corps.

Grinston provided some of the criteria for becoming part of the SFAB at the French Theater SFAB briefing and also mentioned one reason an applicant wouldn’t be accepted.

“If you’re not deployable, you can’t be part of this organization,” he said.

Command Sergeant Major Ken Killingsworth, who is in the process of moving from Hawaii to a command sergeant major position at Fort Bragg, also shared information at the briefing, including the purpose of the SFAB, which he said is to train, advise and assist a company and enable partner and allied security forces.

Being part of the SFAB is an important service, and the organization is a top priority for the Chief of Staff of the Army, according to Killingsworth.

“We’re looking for the best of the best,” he said.

In addition to other skills expected for applicants, “there’s a certain level of fitness expected,” Killingsworth said.

Applicants must be a volunteer, have a PULHES — physical capacity/stamina, upper extremities, lower extremities, hearing/ear, eyes, psychiatric, military physical profile — of 111,221 or greater; score at least 240 points on Army Physical Fitness Test; obtain and maintain a secret security clearance; and successfully pass a background screening with no derogatory information within the last three years.

Because the organization has a goal of preparing exceptional leaders, those who volunteer are accepted and are already at a certain rank can enter training to progress to higher ranks somewhat faster than those outside the organization.

Although those who volunteered last year for the 1st SFAB received a $5,000 incentive bonus, Killingsworth said he can’t yet confirm that bonus will be offered to 2nd SFAB volunteers.

“Bonuses have to be approved, but there will be incentive bonuses,” he said.

The 2nd SFAB will be made up of smaller teams, about 12 persons per team plus nine security members, Killingsworth said.

“(The SFAB is) an enduring mission. You guys are making history and breaking ground for the Army,” Gen. Robert Abrams, commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command, said in a video shown at the briefing.

About 150 Soldiers attended the French Theater event, including Spc. Xavier Lopez, 46th Aviation Support Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade. He said after listening to the briefing, he plans to apply for the 2nd SFAB.

“I joined the military to defend my country, and this looks like a great opportunity to do that,” Lopez said, who joined the Army in his hometown of San Antonio, three years ago and has been at JBLM for about 18 months.

“I’d like to be part of the Special Forces Assistance Brigade,” he said.

To begin the application process, Soldiers must contact their branch manager. It’s a three-year commitment, and teams within the SFAB are expected to deploy often.