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445th SFS mission, more than just law enforcement

445th Security Forces Squadron Airmen neutralize targets with simulated live rounds during shoot, move, communicate training, Feb. 8, 2020 at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Warfighter Training Center.

445th Security Forces Squadron Airmen neutralize targets with simulated live rounds during shoot, move, communicate training, Feb. 8, 2020 at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Warfighter Training Center.

Senior Airman Krista Tungett and Staff Sgt. Kody Hildebrand from the 445th Airlift Wing Security Forces Squadron, participate in a training exercise at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 8, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Amelia Burnett)

Senior Airman Krista Tungett and Staff Sgt. Kody Hildebrand from the 445th Airlift Wing Security Forces Squadron, participate in a training exercise at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 8, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Amelia Burnett)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --

On any given unit training assembly, the Defenders of the 445th Security Forces Squadron might be spotted behind the steering wheel of a patrol car on the flight line, manning one of the installation gates, or instructing a Combat Arms Rifle/Pistol course. But behind the scenes, they are also training for field operations, whether those occur overseas in a deployed setting or stateside on a temporary duty assignment.

“People may equate security forces exclusively with law enforcement duties, but in reality, that’s just a fraction of what we do,” said Capt. Dustin Honious, commander of the 445th Security Forces Squadron. “Our career field is just so vast.”

Some of the other assignments that can be filled by 445th Defenders include drug interdiction off the Florida Keys with the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy, Operation Trident exercises with Naval Special Warfare, Presidential Security Detail for the President of the United States with the Air Force One team, flyaway security missions, and riot control at airshows.

“We can flip a coin and go anywhere in the world, and instantly the mission changes,” he said. “We have to be able to change with it.”

This is why the squadron spends every single unit training assembly fervently completing hands-on training at any opportunity. Not only must they be competent on a wide variety of skills, they have to be able to shift priorities and react to changing environments on the drop of a dime, explained Honious.

“We use the equipment, we train on the equipment, and to be honest, sometimes we end up breaking the equipment,” he said. “But that’s okay; we want those types of things to occur in training so we’ll know what to do if it happens in the field.”

Once a tasking does come up, it’s too late to work on honing skills or try playing catch up on training; it’s go-time.

“I’m proud of the Airmen in my squadron, they live and breathe the epitome of 72-hour notice,” he said.

Overseas, the 445th SFS typically conducts routine security and patrol, monitors austere flight lines, and sometimes partners with other career fields to establish new air bases and outposts.

“On some occasions, it’s our guys and gals who are setting up those security parameters to monitor the surroundings while Airmen from other squadrons are literally building a base from the ground up,” Honious said.

Security Forces Defenders also provide missile alert and security, combat arms training, boat patrols and mounted horse patrols. Within the career field, Airmen have the opportunity to train and perform any of these functions.

“I tell people, if you’re ever bored, you’re doing it wrong,” Honious said. “You can spend an entire career in this AFSC and almost never do the same assignment twice, if that’s what you choose.”

Honious knows this firsthand. He enlisted straight out of high school, spending the first seven years of his career as a Security Forces Defender traveling the globe performing many of these tasks before commissioning in 2012.

“My mission for our senior leaders is to develop and deploy,” he said. “We teach our Airmen, we mentor our Airmen, and then they go away. If we, as leaders, do our job right, we will lose some of our people. And not because they get out of the military, but because they venture out and take assignments that will further their personal and professional growth and development; it’s how we continue forward, it’s how we drive to do better the next day, and it’s how we stay ready.”