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Deployed in support of force protection

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Christopher Parr
  • 332d Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Every military base is composed of people doing many different jobs working in unison to generate, sustain and complete mission objectives. In a deployed environment there’s one job that brings Airmen from various career fields together to help maintain base security as part of the first line of defense… force protection. 

Senior Airman Ashely Fair, an X-Ray technician stationed at Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany, explained how she wondered what force protection entailed when she was told about her deployment to the 332d AEW and her assignment to work on the Force Protection Flight.

“Come to find out, as force protection we escort local nationals while they do essential work for the upkeep and some construction around the base,” said Fair. “We’re very much an additional, critical, set of eyes and ears to enhance the security of the base.”

Force protection, while not the same as security forces, is a critical element of base security because they take preventative measures to mitigate threats against base populace and resources. Force Protection is made up of members from across various career fields in the Air Force. It is thanks to that diversity that force protection continuously innovates ways to improve and better execute the mission.

The 332d AEW delivers combat airpower throughout Southwest Asia by connecting every Airman to the mission and the operational support from the Red Tail team ensures regional security.

Although it is a far cry from her job as an X-Ray tech, Fair quickly found that her experience working with patients helped prepare her for working with the local nationals on the installation.

“I love working at the Escort Control Center because I enjoy organizing the movement of large groups of people around our base,” said Fair.

Fair shared that force protection is a great opportunity to get to meet fellow Airmen from a variety of different career fields.

“We get to have medical, services, maintenance, logistics and others all working side by side getting views into each other’s Air Force experiences,” said Fair.

Airman First Class Matthew Orchowsky, a mental health technician stationed at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, was presented the opportunity to volunteer as force protection here.

“I don’t normally deploy in my current Air Force assignment so having the opportunity to deploy and experience a different culture has been worth every moment spent as force protection,” said Orchowsky.

Orchowsky faced some challenges such as learning how to talk to the control tower and how to drive on the airfield. Not typical challenges for a mental health technician, he added.

For Airman First Class Won Sun Yu, a financial management and comptroller from Ramstein, AFB, Germany, working with the local nationals felt similar to when Ramstein was host to Operation Allies Refuge, where he worked with evacuees from Afghanistan.

“The job here is different, night and day, compared to my job at Ramstein but the local nationals are good people to work with, even with the challenges of the language barrier,” said Yu.