Gina Hernlem has mastered many skills: maneuvering a beverage cart down a narrow aisle, finding a little more space in an overhead bin and easing the nerves of mothers flying with newborns.
This month, the 55-year-old flight attendant added a new one: Disarming a knife-wielding attacker with her bare hands.
Hernlem was among a dozen or more flight attendants who recently took part in a self-defense course designed for airline crew members at a federal facility near Dulles International Airport.
“I hope you never have to use it,” instructor Scott Armstrong told them. “But there’s always that time.”
Armstrong retired as a master sergeant from Army Special Forces and worked as a Secret Service trainer before joining the Federal Air Marshal Service in 2004.
More than 11,000 crew members have taken the four-hour class since 2004. It is offered free by the Transportation Security Administration at 20 U.S. sites, but volunteer participants use their own time and pay their own travel expenses.
— The Washington Post