Air marshals use their training and instinct to spot suspicious passengers on both domestic and international flights, recently detaining one man on a flight near Wyoming who joked he was setting his shoes alight. Working out of Wyoming, air marshals have several options for points of departure in the state. Some of these include:
- Jackson Hole Airport, Wyoming’s busiest air transport facility and the only airport in the nation to be located within the bounds of a national park. Each year over half a million passengers pass through the airport, one of whom was Sandra Bullock who survived her chartered plane’s crash there in 2000.
- Casper-Natrona County International Airport, with three airlines providing departures for over 100,000 passengers last year, an annual increase of nearly 12 percent.
- Gillette-Campbell County Airport, providing daily flights to Salt Lake City, Rock Springs, and Denver for 32,714 passengers last year.
- Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody, with four airlines providing services to more than 28,551 outgoing passengers last year.
- Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport, offering services to Gillette, Salt Lake City, and Denver for over 28,000 passengers last year.
Prospective applicants who are interested in learning more about how to become an air marshal in Wyoming can start by researching the education and training requirements for these important positions.
Applying for Air Marshal Jobs
Demonstrating the minimum qualifications and skills to be able to effectively carry out air marshal job duties is a must for prospective applicants. A complete application will include verification of minimum requirements and qualifications as detailed here.
Candidates must have:
- US citizenship
- A relatively good personal history
- Age qualification by being between 21-36, with exceptions for federal officers
- A bachelor’s degree, which may also be substituted for in one of two ways:
- Having three years of work experience which demonstrates skills in communication, problem solving, and organization
- Having a combination of related experience and education
Candidates must complete:
- Background investigation for a top secret security clearance
- Marksmanship evaluation
- Air Marshal Assessment Battery Test
- Physical ability test
Candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in particular fields may find they have already developed key skills which can contribute to their air marshal qualifications. These subject areas include:
- Criminal Justice
- Law Enforcement
- Criminal Psychology
Air Marshal Training and Partnerships in Wyoming
New air marshals begin their training in New Mexico, where they complete 35 days of basic training. This is then followed by an advanced training course spanning 43 days at the Federal Air Marshal Training Center in New Jersey. Areas of focus include:
- Federal and international law
- Close quarters combat
- Marksmanship targeting the head and center of mass with a Sig Sauer P229
- Hostage situations
- Rapid decompression scenarios
This training and education was recently put to test in the skies near Wyoming when air marshals were alerted to the smell of smoke in an occupied airplane lavatory. When a man exited the bathroom air marshals questioned him as to why it smelled like smoke, to which the man jokingly replied he had been trying to light his shoes on fire. However the air marshals did not find this remark humorous because of a recent event in the US involving a would-be terrorist’s attempt to do just this. Although the man finally stated he had been smoking a cigarette, air marshals took no chances and activated emergency procedures, sitting next to the man until the plane was able to make an emergency landing at the nearest airport while being escorted by two fighter jets.
As air marshals advance in their careers, it is common to conduct joint training exercises and collaborations with law enforcement agencies at all levels of government in Wyoming. This involves working in partnerships such as:
- Wyoming Counter Terrorism Commission
- Wyoming Office of Homeland Security