Dynamic and Versatile

  • Published
  • By Technical Sgt. Jeremy McClure
  • 185th Public Affairs
With their distinctive berets, they are they first people you encounter coming onto base. They are the 185th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) Security Forces Squadron (SFS). Tasked with protecting the personnel and resources of the 185th ARW, Security Forces also prepare for every contingency.

"We mainly do security on this base, but we will also do a little law enforcement" said 1st Lt. Roger Howard, Commander of the 185th ARW SFS. "We are also deploying with the Army more and conducting joint operations with them."

In 2005, 13 members of the 185th ARW SFS deployed to Mosul, Iraq. Lt. Howard said "They were some of the first Air National Guard members to go off base in support of the mission. They did patrols, convoys, and several other missions."

The SFS also trains with local law enforcement agencies to hone their skills and build partnerships. "We've trained with the Sioux City Police Department and Woodbury County Sheriff's office. We have a great relationship with area agencies. If something happened, they would be here in a minute to help," Howard explained.

With 78 airmen on their rosters, the 185th SFS benefits from the knowledge and expertise of their members. Many members are employed with civilian and federal law enforcement agencies and correctional facilities. This knowledge base helps make Security Forces versatile and able to tackle unexpected problems.

In 2008, historic flood waters shut the Linn County Jail down in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The 185th Security Forces responded to the need. They set up and staffed a jail for the Cedar Rapids Police Department. Tech. Sgt. Nate Sands and Tech. Sgt. Sarah Hinrichs, who are Correctional Officers in their civilian jobs, had a jail operational in hours.

In May, Security Forces conducted sustainment training in Montana. The members were trained in weapon proficiency, team tactics, and combat in urban terrain. The active duty and prior service experience of some members was beneficial to the training of junior Airman. Staff Sgt. Zane Chwirka, formerly with the Army Guard, trained the SFS members on convoys. TSgt Brad Rose, a former Marine Corps Scout Sniper and a graduate of the Air Force Close Precision Engagement Course, demonstrated his skills on the firing range while making 800 meter shots with the units M14 rifles.

Specialized training gives additional opportunities to members to learn new skill sets that benefit the unit. In preparation for their deployment to Eskan Village in Saudi Arabia, several members received training as Combat Life Savers. This advanced training taught them how to administer I.V.s and emergency medications that would be critical in saving lives in combat.

Two members are Phoenix Ravens. The program started in 1997. Ravens provide security for Air Force planes and crew on non-DOD air fields.

In addition to ensuring that SFS personnel are trained, they also provide weapons training and qualifications for the 185th ARW. Thousands of rounds are fired every year on the base's firing range to ensure that the Airmen of the 185th are able to pick up a rifle or pistol and help defend the base.

In the event that an emergency occurs and additional security is needed, Operations Wing Support Maintenance (OWSM) can swing into action. "We train base personnel on security functions to augment Security Forces in the case of an emergency," Howard explained. "The OWSM would provide security while we conduct a recall of Security Forces personnel. This is in addition to their normal duties on base."

The 185th SFS has consistently demonstrated that they are a versatile group that can be relied upon by commanders to provide security for the base for any contingency. It is a challenging job that requires intense training and dedication. Many benefit from their time in Security. Senior Airman Nicole Talbott said she joined to "gain experience for a job in law enforcement." Countless members will say that SFS gives them a big advantage in their job search.

"If there is one word to sum up our Security Forces, I would say it is professionalism," said Howard. Undoubtedly, the Security Forces' professionalism will continue to show in their daily functions, upcoming inspections, deployments, and all they do.

The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the 185th Air Refueling Wing, the Iowa Air National Guard, the United States Air Force or the Department of Defense of the external website, or information, products, or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Services/Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) sites, the United States Air Force does not exercise editorial control over the information users may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of the website.