JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., –
It is the job of security forces to protect, defend and fight in order to enable Air Force, joint and coalition missions. Their motto, ‘defensor fortis’, means ‘defenders of the force’. These Airmen are most commonly seen providing security at base gates day and night, so people don’t always see the behind-the-scenes of the job to fully understand what it takes to fulfill the role of a security forces defender.
“A security forces Airman is someone willing to go the extra mile to help others,” said Airman 1st Class Daniel Shuttleworth, 628th Security Forces Squadron installation entry controller. “We must be able to adapt to any circumstance and constantly stay on our toes because in this job you never know what could happen. We also have to be confident in what we’re doing since we make hard decisions people don’t always agree with. It is crucial to be knowledgeable about our job to enforce what is right.”
A major responsibility of security forces is protecting the personnel and property of bases both stateside and overseas.
“People see our security forces Airmen checking ID cards every day,” said 2nd Lt. David Robison, 628th SFS logistics readiness officer in charge. “They don’t usually see everything else security forces does for the base. Along with gate guards, we have law enforcement patrols, military working dogs, patrol dogs, combat arms training and maintenance instructors, armorers, plans and programs, investigations and so much more. Our Airmen have a ton of responsibility coming straight out of technical school and they carry the responsibility throughout their security forces career.”
Security forces Airmen go through extensive training during technical school, which includes learning basic military police functions, law enforcement and directing traffic. They also learn about non-lethal tactics to deter enemies, such as using pepper spray or engaging someone’s pressure points.
“Being able to put my beret on every day has given me a whole new sense of pride,” said Shuttleworth. “My job is extremely important to me because if it wasn’t for us, there wouldn’t be any security for the bases. Everyone would be looking over their shoulders having to worry about their safety. It means a lot to me to be a part of the force which prevents that.”
According to Robison, security forces Airmen obtain a lot of responsibility straight out of technical school. They also have more opportunity for leadership roles at lower ranks because they are a defensive force and share the responsibility of protecting fellow service members and civilians.
“Every single day is different and I love that about this job,” said Robison. “You never know what you’re going to encounter. I wouldn’t give up this career field for any other job.”