Security forces endure frigid temps, still maintain excellence

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Patrick O'Reilly
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The day begins early for members of the 445th Airlift Wing Security Forces Squadron.  Airmen report in for duty at 4:30 a.m., arming up, performing roll call, patrolling and completing administrative tasks that they won't be able to do while they are out on the job. Plummeting winter temperatures add additional challenges to an already demanding role.

Temperatures below freezing on Jan. 11, 2015 created many obstacles. The temperature high for the day was 20 degrees and the low was 4 below zero. In recent years, security forces braved temperatures as low as 22 below zero with high winds. Cold winds, slippery pavement, frozen toes, are all duty hazards.

"Sometimes we have issues with the gate lock freezing and we have to find ways to thaw out the lock," said Staff Sgt. Steve Fuentes, 445 SFS fire team member.

During the frigid temperatures, the shift was required to rotate every 15 minutes to prevent frostbite. Even during the harsh conditions, they must maintain awareness and remain alert.

"We are required to maintain vigilance under extreme conditions and it is essential to have the manning available for a rotation of defenders to go inside the guard house to warm up," said Tech. Sgt. Steven Wright, 445 SFS fire team leader.

Winter weather sometimes adds additional complications when dealing with personnel entering the gate.  There are some actions that base personnel can take to help security forces process them through the gate.

"If your face is covered with a face mask or sunglasses please remove it so we can identify who you are," advises Senior Airman Justin Daley, 445 SFS fire team member.

"No matter who you are, do not assume that we know," agreed Senior Airman Alex Stephens. "Have your identification ready upon arriving to the gate."

Other tips to make vehicle processing progress more swiftly at the gate include:

· Dim the vehicle lights when pulling in
· Have windows de-iced
· Do not hold Common AccessCard or identification in mouth; have it ready in hand

If you have questions regarding gate procedures, you can contact Pass and ID at 257-6506.