Security Forces takes aim at protecting Spangdahlem

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexis Siekert
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The 52nd Security Forces Squadron is doing more than just scanning ID cards. They are providing Airmen, families and all other base members a safe place to live and work, while protecting all U.S. Air Force assets and preforming the law enforcement mission for the 1,300 Sabers in the 40 kilometer-wide area around Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

Security Forces consists of a 350-person team of active duty, German nationals and U.S. civilians, and is divided into five sections making it a nearly self-sustaining unit. The sections include the commander's support staff, intelligence/investigations, operations, supply and logistics, and plans and programs. These sections cover everything from Airmen on patrol to pass and identification or vehicle registration clerks.

"U.S. Air Force security forces is unique across all branches as it is the only unit that acts as both infantry and law enforcement," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Brian Gilliam, 52nd SFS operations officer from Stockton, Calf. "We are the execution and the boots on the ground, and have six flights operating 24 hours a day. Our team does great on a day-to-day basis."

On top of their important role here, Spangdahlem defenders often deploy in support of the Air Force's global mission. Up to 300 Airmen are deployed to a number of places every year, and their efforts do not go unnoticed.

During the past two years, four defenders were eligible to receive the bronze star, two have received combat action medals and half a dozen meritorious service medals have been awarded, Gilliam said.

"A lot of people don't realize it, but we are ambassadors for the Air Force," said Senior Airman Amber Henderson, 52nd SFS pass and ID clerk from Beaufort, S.C. "We as cops have to be spot on because we stand apart from everyone else. We're held to a higher standard."

To best accomplish the mission, the squadron underwent important changes in 2014.

In January the SFS switched from 12-hour shifts to eight-hour shifts for the first time in seven years. This allows defenders to perform at a higher level of alertness. Secondly, the newly finished combat arms range opened its doors in April.

"I really get a sense of accomplishment when I do my job and do it well," Henderson said. "I can see the benefits, but if you think we're not doing anything, then we are doing our job right. More work in the beginning is less work in the end."