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386th and 387th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron celebrate Police Week

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Natalie Filzen
  • 386 AEW Public Affairs

In 2015, a young woman, seconds away from being murdered, was saved by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hone, acting under his full-time role as a Salt Lake City police officer. When he joined the Utah Air National Guard, he never mentioned to anyone in the unit that he was recognized as a hero for his actions that day, and was named National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. He said he was only doing his job.

Lt. Col. Bruce Lewis, commander of the 387th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, worked with Hone at the 151st Security Forces Squadron, Utah Air National Guard, and said Hone’s humility is one that expands to all cops, believing that any defender–should the moment arise–would step into the line of fire to save innocent lives.

When running toward a threat in order to stop it, the daily risk of being a law enforcer becomes exponentially greater, and occasionally can result in loss of life.

Master Sgt. Matthew Johnson, a supply and plans program superintendent of the 387th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron and National Guardsman with the 116th Security Forces Squadron, Georgia Air National Guard, is well acquainted with the tragedy of losing a fellow defender in the line of duty. With 16 years in law enforcement, his current civilian job is Deputy Sheriff of Jones County, Georgia.

“The anniversary of his passing was May 5, and I was kind of down about it,” said Johnson. “The commander noticed, and I explained it. So they wanted to make sure to include him in our remembrance. His name was Anthony Freeman [but he went by] TJ, and he was a deputy at the time of [his] passing in 2016.”

The 387th ESFS recognized Freeman’s sacrifice at their kickoff memorial breakfast for Police Week, an annual commemoration of police officers who have fallen during their service. At the breakfast, despite being a civilian police officer, they also mentioned his name, along with all the fallen Security Forces members.

In addition to opening ceremonies, the 386th and 387th ESFS hosted Police Week activities which included the Battle of the Badges competitions, as well as 5Ks, a 24-hour ruck march, and a K-9 demonstration.

“It’s important to hold events that get the public involved and familiarized with law enforcement,” said Lewis. “They get an opportunity to talk to some of these police officers and touch the equipment, and become more [comfortable] with police officers by understanding the tools of the job and what they [combat] when they go on calls.”

Whether stateside or deployed, wearing a military uniform or a police officer uniform, all those who serve in protecting the public, including those who support them, celebrate this memorial week every year.

“We get to spend one week out of every year, to ponder and respectfully have in our hearts and minds, those who have fallen before us and lost their lives in the line of duty,” said Lewis. “But we also honor and celebrate what law enforcement does day in and day out, to carry the torch on.”