Patrolling the flightline

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class David Bernal Del Agua
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
"ID please," is a common phrase everyone hears as they approach the base.

Gate guards are the first line of defense against anyone wishing to harm those within or impede the mission, but if they fail there are more obstacles to get through, like the security forces on the flightline.

Security forces protect the aircraft and those who operate within the flightline from any threat that may have gotten passed the gate guards.

"Our primary duty out there is to protect the KC-135R Stratotankers stationed here," said Tech. Sgt. Alfonte Thomas, 22nd Security Forces Squadron on-duty day shift flight chief. "It's a long day, but that's our bread and butter."

Protecting the KC-135s also includes doing constant perimeter checks to ensure the area is safe and prevent unauthorized personnel from entering restricted areas while the KC-46A Pegasus construction is ongoing.

Defenders regularly perform ID checks on anyone going through at random points throughout the flightline for anti-terrorism measures, said Thomas.

Security forces exercises help prepare the Defenders for the worst possible scenarios.

Anti-terrorism exercises keep the security forces Airmen active because each flight chief initiates the exercises at random times to ensure the Airmen stay sharp and are always prepared to go, said Senior Airman Robert Jones, 22nd SFS entry controller.

They do a wide variety of training every week while they are out on the flightline. The exercises could range anywhere from someone simply breaking the restricted red line and not knowing what they are supposed to do to someone trying to reach an aircraft without following procedures, said Jones.

Security forces Airmen remain alert for 10 to 12 hours straight and prepared for any situation that arises, simulated or real.

"It's a hard day for those guys," said Thomas. "People don't realize all the work that these guys do out there and what goes in to it, but my Airmen are the best at what they do and will continue to accomplish their mission and keep the base safe."

While security forces are the first line of defense against threats, they are also the last line of defense. They keep everyone on base secured, as well as keeping the mission going by protecting the aircraft.