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Defenders win 2018 AFCENT outstanding small unit award

Airmen from the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron pause for a photo Feb. 22, 2019 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

Airmen from the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron pause for a photo Feb. 22, 2019 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. This team won the U.S. Air Forces Central Command Security Forces Outstanding Small Unit Award for 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rito Smith)

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan --

The 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at Bagram Airfield won the U.S. Air Forces Central Command Security Forces Outstanding Small Unit Award for 2018.

Air Force security forces units across the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility competed for this annual award, which is specifically designated for units with fewer than 125 Airmen. 

“These extraordinary defenders have selflessly secured Bagram Airfield to ensure the projection of pristine combat airpower for the premier counterterrorism wing in Afghanistan,” said Maj. Josh Webb, 455th ESFS commander. “When decisive kinetic effects are needed on the battlefield, the 455 ESFS ensures airpower is securely and safely launched on time, every time to enable a successful train, advise and assist campaign, as well as execute counterterrorism operations to protect the homeland.”

Some 455th ESFS 2018 mission highlights include safeguarding 37 VIP security missions, directing command and control on-scene command for 85 indirect fire attacks, supporting 285 medical evacuations, and completing 935 fly away security missions. Additionally, the security forces Airmen identified potential security vulnerabilities worked with mission partners to fortify base defenses for Afghanistan’s busiest airfield. 

“These defenders lead with pride and combat prowess, representing Air Force security forces capabilities in a joint and coalition environment with diverse mission partners,” Webb said. “They are a combat proven unit, and their actions exemplify what the expeditionary Air Force is all about.”

The 455th ESFS provides a combat-focused expeditionary force in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and NATO’s Resolute Support mission. The squadron is postured to deter, detect and defend Department of Defense personnel and assets at Bagram through flightline security, quick reaction force, joint defense operations and fly away security.

The defenders ensure a safe and secure operating environment for the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing and joint, coalition and interagency partners to conduct counterterrorism, close air support, airlift, transient, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions at Bagram. These Airmen work closely with Army, Navy, Marine, Georgian, Romanian, Czech and Ugandan mission partners in the collective effort to ensure superior base security.