New security team arrives at Kirkuk|
by Master Sgt. Martie Moore
506th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs
5/14/2010 - Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq -- More than 280 Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions security contractors arrived at Kirkuk Regional Air Base to aid in the U.S. Air Force drawdown in Iraq.
The 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron will transfer authority for base security to the Army May 21, 2010, and the contractors are part of the Army's overall security plan.
The ESFS is the first Air Force unit to fully withdraw from Kirkuk Regional Air Base since the buildup of forces happened on April 23, 2003, nearly one month after Operation Iraqi Freedom started.
"We leave first because we are the ones the Air Force support function is here for," explained Lt. Col. Theodore Ruminsky, 506th ESFS commander, deployed from the 934th SFS, Minneapolis St. Paul Air Reserve Station, MN. Security forces personnel make up more than a third of the personnel in the 506th Air Expeditionary Group. When security forces leaves, the burden on the other 506th AEG functions that support the ESFS mission is greatly reduced. This allows the other functions to drawdown and reduces their footprint."
The guards from Sierra Leone arrived May 9, 2010 and started integrating and training immediately.
"They will take over all the security forces and force protection requirements on the base such as perimeter security posts, main entry control point operations and escort duty," said Maj. Sam Dickson, 506th ESFS operations officer deployed from Travis AFB, CA.
The plan is that the transition will be seamless to the base populace. However, with any major change there will be growing pains.
"There may be delays at the gates and there will no longer be police services patrols which the ESFS provided," said Major Dickson.
After Aug. 31, 2010, the mission of United States forces in Iraq will fundamentally change. U.S. forces will have three tasks: train, equip, and advise the Iraqi security forces; conduct targeted counterterrorism operations; and provide force protection for military and civilian personnel, according to Whitehouse.gov.
With the drawdown of the security force members at Kirkuk they are now available to pursue other missions.
"This frees up more than 250 security forces troop requirements, currently filled by Air Force Reserves and the Air National Guard, which would have otherwise levied active duty members," said Colonel Ruminsky. "This will help reduce the one to one dwell rate on the active duty side of the career field, so this is a big deal. Now forces are available for other emerging AOR requirements."
" The Air Reserve component security forces personnel have been averaging a one to four dwell for mobilization, which is actually pretty high considering these are citizen Airmen with full-time careers outside of the Air Force," added the colonel.
As for the security at Kirkuk the contractors are soaking up the knowledge of the seasoned ESFS members.
"They've got a really good attitude, I think it's going to work out fine," said Senior Master Sgt. Steven Fode, 506th ESFS Gator Sector Superintendant deployed from Beale AFB, CA. "They are eager to learn."