At 38,000 feet in the sky, air marshals can be the only thing standing in the way of a plane crash and a safe landing, as a recent event on board a Portland-bound international flight showed.
Although not involving a terrorist hijacker, the result could have been just a deadly, as an air marshal was forced to subdue an intoxicated passenger who was causing a commotion. Although drunk passengers are usually more annoying than anything else, this particular individual decided to cause a disturbance during landing at Portland International Airport, distracting the cabin crew and pilots at a time when concentration was of paramount importance. Thanks to the air marshal’s close quarters combat training, the passenger was able to be subdued after only having thrown a few punches.
Air marshals in Oregon operate out of a number of airports, including:
- Portland International Airport, which saw the transit of over 15 million passengers last year and serves as a major hub for Horizon Air and Alaska Airlines. PDX accounts for 90 percent of all passenger air travel in the state.
- Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport, which has 60 arriving and departing flights each day, which are served by four major airline companies. Each year around 610,000 passengers pass through the facility.
- Eugene Airport, known locally as Mahlon Sweet Field, where over 750,000 passengers transit annually.
- Roberts Field Airport in Redmond, with over 490,000 people passing through last year alone.
Federal Air Marshal Education and Salary
When learning about how to become an air marshal in Oregon, prospective applicants should keep in mind they will need to meet an important education requirement unless they have three years of work experience that demonstrates problem solving and critical thinking skills.
The basic education requirement for federal air marshal jobs stipulates a bachelor’s degree in any field.
Having a degree in a field relevant to federal law enforcement can be advantageous when it comes to job security, promotions, pay level, and rank. These include:
- Law Enforcement
- Criminal Justice
- Police Science
Federal air marshals are paid on a unique letter-based pay scale depending on their education, experience, performance, and tenure, among other considerations:
- A: $17,083-$24,977
- B: $19,579-$28,546
- C: $22,167-$33,303
- D: $25,518-$38,277
- E: $29,302-$44,007
- F: $33,627-$50,494
Becoming a Federal Air Marshal
The application process to become an air marshal involves making it over several hurdles:
- Background investigation for a top secret security clearance
- Panel interview
- Being between the ages of 21-36, with exceptions for certain federal officers
- Physical ability test
- Air Marshal Assessment Battery Test
- Having a bachelor degree, or substituting for this with either:
- Three years of experience demonstrating noteworthy problem solving and communication skills
- A combination of related experience and education
To prepare new hires to meet the most challenging aspects of their air marshal job requirements, those who have successfully navigated the application process will next proceed to training – divided into Basic and Advanced components. Training requirements include becoming an extremely proficient marksman and learning appropriate state and federal laws. Over the course of a good two and a half months, air marshals will be trained to respond to any situation that may arise.