The guardians within the walls

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Bryan Guthrie
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The day starts before the sun rises as Force Protection Airmen walk into the armory to arm up with a radio and baton. Once everyone has met up outside the dispatch facility, each individual flight has their guard mount briefings for the day. By this time the sun is rising and everyone is checking out vehicles to go pick up or meet the Other County Nationals they are escorting for the day.

The 380th Air Expeditionary Wing’s mission is to deliver airpower, defend against adversaries, and develop relationships. Without FP and OCNs working together, those priorities couldn’t be accomplished.

“OCNs are individuals that come from the United Arab Emirates or various countries outside the UAE normally to work,” said Staff Sgt. Hannah Ortloff, 380th Expeditionary Security Force Squadron augmentee. “They do several tasks around base such as cooking meals, cleaning facilities, working at stores around base and accomplishing construction. They help maintain and improve the base so I think they’re absolutely essential to keeping the mission going.”

The 380th AEW at Al Dhafra Air Base provides all five core mission sets to the U.S. Air Forces Central area of responsibility, so it is crucial to keep those assets safe and secure at all times.

It is FP’s job to relay any suspicious or illegal conduct to the base defense operations center and Office of Special Investigations in order to guarantee the safety and security of those who live and work within the walls of the base.

“The biggest threat to our base isn’t a covert or overt attack from coordinated forces, but our biggest threat to the base comes from the insider threat,” said Master Sgt. David Snow, 380th ESFS Force Protection escorts operations superintendent. “FP protects the base from the intelligence threat, terrorist threat and criminal threat.”

Snow emphasized the impact that FP has on the base and reiterated that the augmentee program, which transfers FP personnel to SF roles in times of need, is instrumental when it comes to accomplishing the mission.

“If SF needs more bodies to man extra posts to fulfill the mission, we have to have the augmentee program,” said Snow. “It’s crucial to have FP because they have already received a lot of that training so they’re able to very quickly step into that SF role. Instead of taking extra time to train personnel up on baton tactics and procedures, use of force while on post or zeroing a weapon, FP Airmen have the training to fill those roles when called to do so. There’s no interruption in the mission due to FP’s readiness.”

The objective of the 380th ESFS is to secure, protect and defend Al Dhafra, enabling airpower support of joint, coalition and U.S. Air Force missions. The augmentee program helps ensure SF accomplishes those goals.

 

“The augmentee program is a force multiplier so what that means is that SF will pull people from outside SF to maintain and boost SF capabilities,” said Ortloff. “Both FP and SF have their own specific missions that they are focusing on, but the common denominator is that base defense is their number one goal.”