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Laughlin members offer peace of mind
LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Tech. Sgt. Diana Vela and Staff Sgt. Bryan Garcia, both of the 47th Security Forces Squadron, demonstrate self defense techniques to a class at Laughlin’s Losano Fitness Center April 21. The class is in recognition of sexual assault awareness month and takes place at the end of the Zumba classes at the gym. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Blake Mize)
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Laughlin members offer peace of mind

Posted 4/26/2011   Updated 4/26/2011 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Blake Mize
47th Flying Training Wing public affairs

4/26/2011 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Laughlin members are taking time out of their busy schedules to make sure others are prepared for the worst.

After the Zumba classes that are taught at Laughlin's Losano Fitness Center, members of the 47th Security Forces Squadron and Laughlin's sexual assault response coordinator are hosting self-defense courses in recognition of sexual assault awareness month.

The ladies who took part in the April 21 class, which has been offered every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the month of April, looked on as Staff Sgt. Bryan Garcia and Tech. Sgt. Diana Vela, both of the 47th SFS, demonstrated techniques whose purpose is to help victims survive assaults, especially those of a sexual nature.

Sergeant Vela said that during an attack, "Survival is the priority and some of these basic techniques can help to get away from an attacker. We want people to know they have options and can fight back."

The class is an effort to ensure the peace of mind of Laughlin members. Sexual assaults at Laughlin are extremely rare, however those teaching the classes want to make sure that everyone here is prepared should the worst occur now or sometime in the future.

"We're promoting self confidence and awareness and providing the tools necessary to apply self defense techniques should the situation ever arise," said Sergeant Garcia, whose combative training as a security forces member includes Krav Maga, police judo, unarmed combative, defensive tactics, close quarter and ground fighting training. "It's important to have the resolve to handle any situation of that magnitude."

However infrequent sexual assaults may be here, Laughlin members frequently travel to larger cities where crimes like the ones demonstrated during the classes are more common.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed the self-defense classes. I feel safer in general, but more aware while in San Antonio," said Denise Kenner, a participant in the classes. "The instructors give us some very useful information and options to be keep from becoming a victim. The classes have certainly made me more aware of my surroundings. I've always taken for granted that being attacked happens to other people in bigger cities. Now I feel better prepared on what I need to do in case I find myself being attacked and I will definitely keep a watchful eye out for others that might find themselves in a vulnerable situation."

Machelle Terrell, Laughlin's SARC, said that is precisely the point.

"We are providing these techniques to increase options available in case of an assault," she said." The most important thing is that a victim survives."

Even though Zumba is usually made up primarily of ladies, the instructors made it clear that anyone is welcome and encouraged to join the classes.

"No one is immune to the possibility of being a victim of sexual assault," said Sergeant Vela. "No matter how tough and strong you are, no matter your gender, preparation is the key. We have some tools and techniques to assist in that preparation."

For more information about sexual assault prevention, contact Machelle Terrell at 830-298-4545.

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