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With Checkertail families in mind, the 325th Force Support Squadron utilizes local community resources to improve quality of life through unique classes and workshops.

In cooperation with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, the 325th FSS will now conduct women’s self-defense classes at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

“This course is for Tyndall women to learn [lifesaving] skills to defend yourself when needed,” said Rebecca Gestrich, Community Readiness Consultant with 325 Force Support Squadron. “Last year, we took a few courses at BCSO. This is the first time that we bring this course on installation.

With the resources and support of the local community, Tyndall has offered unique workshops to more Airmen and their families.

“This program has been around for about five years,” said Deputy Sheriff Mario Lupica, BCSO Community Services Division. “It has gone through several different versions and this one is the most up to date.”

In a two-hour class, participants can learn the right techniques to defend themselves against an attacker. Here they learn what a real-world scenario might look like, the exercises to practice, and the resources available to them. At the end of the workshop, participants are given a one-minute exercise to use the skills they have learned in a realistic scenario.

“It’s all about mindset,” Lupica said. “When we do the thorough exercise, and it pushes them. It gives them a bit of stress and a bit of reality. I saw very shy and sweet people at the first part [of class]and once they roll, they come out of their shell.

This workshop not only teaches individuals situational awareness, but it also provides an opportunity for family bonding. Allowing families to take the course together not only strengthens their self-defense skills, but also makes the first step to safety a more comfortable transition.

“Anything that’s going to make us feel safer and more confident, I think is beneficial for the Tyndall families,” Gestrich said. “It’s really about focusing on knowing our environment. Let’s be smart and trust our instincts.

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