AFCENT Force Protection, Defenders Safeguard Service Members, Mission

By Staff Sgt. R. Alex Durbin, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, 1 February 2017

A mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicle driven by a member of the 451st Expeditionary Support Squadron Security Forces Flight, patrols the flightline at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Jan. 20, 2016. The U.S. Air Forces Central Command Force Protection directorate at the Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, acts as the nexus of security operations across the area of responsibility to ensure security forces personnel can protect personnel, assets and, ultimately, the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys) 

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar (AFNS) -- In the constantly changing landscape of the U.S. Air Forces Central Command battlespace, one thing remains constant – U.S. Air Force security forces Airmen stand vigilant at installations across Southwest Asia day and night. 

To ensure these defenders can remain prepared for any threat, the AFCENT Force Protection directorate at the Combined Air Operations Center here acts as the nexus of Air Force security operations across the area of responsibility. The staff provides the guidance and support to ensure security forces personnel can protect personnel, assets and, ultimately, the mission.

"Our No. 1 priority is to support the warfighter,” said Col. Michael Gimbrone, the AFCENT Force Protection director. “Our goal is to provide a mission-ready, resilient and air-minded security force, organized, trained and equipped to deliver enduring, integrated defense against threats to Air Force, joint and coalition missions.”

To achieve this, the AFCENT Force Protection directorate uses an interdisciplinary team of logistics, intelligence, anti-terrorism and security forces specialists to identify, counter and neutralize threats to Air Force, joint and coalition personnel and assets. These specialists provide a comprehensive skillset to support defense force commanders at installations across the AFCENT area of responsibility with a complete picture of operational considerations.

“No one person can look at a whole battlespace and have all of the answers,” said Chief Master Sgt. Steven Thompson, the AFCENT Force Protection security forces manager. “We try to look at both sides of the coin to find a solid way ahead.”

The force protection staff also provides guidance and policy support to defense force commanders at the squadron level to help day-to-day operations run smoothly. To ensure the unique needs at each installation are understood and met, the directorate holds a biannual force protection coordination board that brings leaders from each security forces unit across the AOR together for a two-day conference.

Gimbrone said the board aims to provide engagement opportunities between the AFCENT staff and defense force commanders and security forces managers to ensure security forces leaders in the field have the appropriate information, guidance and support they need to execute their missions.

“Our staff exists to support the forces in the field, not the other way around,” Gimbrone said. “Ultimately, it’s our security forces units that have the responsibility of keeping AFCENT personnel and resources safe and secure, and the board is an opportunity to reinforce to them that our force protection staff is committed to doing everything we can to give them the support to enable them to do just that.”

During the two-day board, experts from various sectors of the security forces career field come together to share information and participate in forums to innovate and improve security processes in the field.

“We want to show the rest of the (Defense Department) that Air Force security forces is a viable force and we’re willing to take on new missions and can do them quickly and effectively,” Thompson said. “We want to show that we’re committed to keeping not just AFCENT personnel and resources secure, but also keeping other DOD and coalition partners well defended.”

Thompson said this attitude is engrained in the security forces way of life.

“When we work with joint and coalition partners, our defenders can put aside the color of the uniform or the nationality and work as a team,” he said. “Our career field is all about the fact that it doesn’t matter who you are as long as you have my back and I have your back. When we come together, the job gets done.”

According to Gimbrone, this ability to aid joint and international partners has a wide-reaching affect.

“This truly is both a joint and coalition effort to be able to conduct the missions across the AOR,” he said. “The ability to take the fight to the enemy in Mosul and other places could not happen at the same level if we did not have joint and coalition efforts. Across the AOR, our defenders are working side-by-side with forces from the other branches of the Department of Defense and forces from other nations to keep our locations secure.”

While battlefield and adversary may continue to change, Gimbrone said one thing is certain – he, his staff and the security forces Airmen will continue supporting the fight wherever they are needed.

“As long as there is a need for the U.S. to have a presence in the AFCENT AOR, there will be a need for Air Force security forces to be here accomplishing the mission,” he said. “As we move forward, we will continue to see great accomplishments by security forces as they defend against the enemy wherever they may be. Certainly it would be ideal to have a day where we could have a stabilized, enduring posture in the AOR and not have to deal with emerging locations or an ever-evolving enemy, but until that is the case, then there will be SF in the AOR keeping our personnel, resources and missions safe and secure.”

Citizen Airmen Save Life of Drowning Child

SSgt Daniel Phelps, 349th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs, March 17, 2017 Travis Tailwind

1) Staff Sgt. Rochelle Waters, 349th Security Forces Squadron, poses for a photo outside of the combat arms building March 9 at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. 2) Staff Sgt. Dante Thomas, 349 SFS, poses March 9 for a photo outside of the same building. Thomas and Waters saved the life of a drowning child during an off-day during the recent Exercise Cope North 2017 in Guam (U.S. Air Force photos by Daniel Phelps)

They didn’t set out to be heroes, nor did they expect that their recent temporary assignment to Talafofo, Guam, would place them in that situation.


On Feb. 25, Staff Sgts. Rochelle Waters and Dante Thomas, 349th Security Forces Squadron members, were enjoying an off day at the beach from their training at Cope North when something odd in the water caught their eye.


“We swam all morning,” Waters said, describing the scene. “We were just hanging out after our barbecue. I was sitting under a canopy relaxing. Dante was chatting on the phone.”


A young boy and his sisters were playing in the water, swimming, Dante said. As they swam farther out in the water, the boy started to lag behind. “I don’t know why I looked up,” Waters said. “I saw the boy, about my son’s age, dipping underwater, starting to flail and shouting, ‘I can’t swim, I can’t swim, I can’t swim.” At that point, she started for the water just as Thomas threw down his phone. They both rushed toward the boy. “As soon as I saw him bob, I knew he was in trouble,” Thomas added. “As I was jumping in, she dove in right beside me.”


“I ‘Baywatched’ it,” said Waters. “I stripped down to my suit and dove in. We swam out around 50 yards. I don’t remember who got to him first.” Fortunately, both citizen Airmen have life-saving professions outside of their Reserve careers: Thomas is a police officer, Waters is a nurse.


Once they got the boy to shore, Waters noticed the child’s lips were blue and knew it wasn’t because he was cold. “The water wasn’t cold,” she explained. “So I put him over so he could expel whatever was in his throat. Then, he coughed up a bunch of water. My nursing training kicked in.” She took his pulse and checked his ABCs: airway, breathing and circulation.


“I made sure he was OK,” said Water. “He kept saying he was dizzy, his arms were dizzy and he was extremely tired. ”It was quite a distance to his family over rough terrain, so they couldn’t carry him, Thomas said. Since he was unable to walk, they waited with him.


“We waited until he could breathe a bit better and his pulse was in a normal range,” Waters said. “When he said he was OK, Dante and I swam back with him on our shoulders to his family.”


The family had no clue what had almost happened, Thomas said. They were incredibly grateful.


For the two Citizen Airmen, personal and professional instincts kicked in fast. “The first thing that went through my mind was my son; I have a son the same age,” Waters explained. “It was almost immediate, like a mother’s intuition.”


Thomas said that as a police officer, he is always aware of his surroundings. “I was just enjoying the scenery and saw something that didn’t add up,” he said. “I went from enjoying the scenery to seeing his head bob.”


The two Citizen Airmen don’t see what they did as anything out of the ordinary. “I just did what I was supposed to do,” Thomas said. “It’s like putting on the uniform. We didn’t do this to be recognized. It was just – something’s wrong here, let’s do what we can to make it right.”


Water’s echoed his thoughts. “I think as a security forces member, it’s not that huge of a deal,” she said. “We know that any one of us, had we been in that situation, would have done that exact same thing.”



Security Forces Squadron Member Saves Family

By Senior Airman Aja Heiden, 482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs, February 27, 2017

Tech. Sgt. Jose Rosado, assigned to the 482nd Security Forces Squadron, Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., stands with mother Janelly Rivera and baby Rivera after he saved their lives when their car went into a canal along with father John Rivera on Jan. 29, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Aja Heidan)

On a Friday evening, an Airman and his son were on their way to the Sam Johnson Fitness Center here, when they heard tires screeching on the road behind them and saw the sound was coming from a white car that then tumbled into a canal. The car quickly sank under the water, trapping three passengers inside.

Tech. Sgt. Jose Rosado, a 482nd Security Forces Squadron team leader, and his 20-year-old son witnessed the accident at the intersection on Jan. 29, 2016. Rosado got out of his vehicle to assess the situation.

“No one came out of the vehicle and I didn’t want it to be one of those stories you see on the news where no one survives,” he said.

Fearing the worst, he went to help the passengers inside the vehicle. He jumped into the canal and tried to open the car’s door.

 “I broke the car’s window,” said Rosado. “It cut my hands, but I was able to pull the male and female passengers out safely.”

Rosado’s heroic actions didn’t end there. After rescuing John and Janelly Rivera from the car, Rosado realized another life was still in danger.

"Once the passengers were above water they started screaming their baby was in the car," said Rosado.

Again, Rosado jumped into the murky waters of the canal to save the couple’s child.

“Once I was under the water I couldn’t see at all,” said Rosado. “I started to feel around for the child and I felt him floating, still buckled into his car seat. I fumbled with the straps and clips to get him out. I crawled out of the canal and stood on the bank holding the baby. He wasn’t breathing, some water came out of his airway, but he was still blue.”

By this time other on-lookers had stopped near the site of the accident and called 911.

“Soon a fire rescue truck pulled up,” said Rosado. “I ran around the canal to an area where I could cross and gave the baby to the rescue team.”

The fire rescue team took the child to Homestead Baptist Hospital.

“That night I spoke to a nurse at the hospital, she told me the baby made a full recovery,” Rosado said.

Jose Rosado’s swift thinking saved a family of three after a dangerous accident and credits his ability to save the Rivera family to his military training.

“The security forces academy trained me to react to incidents quickly,” said Rosado.

After rescuing a family from a car accident many would feel their duty to help was over, but Rosado felt he could do more.

“I spoke to the family and found out the baby was going to turn one-year-old soon,” said Rosado. “The family had lost so much in the accident so I decided to start a GoFundMe account for them. Through donations we raised over $350.”

Due to his bravery in a situation that could have easily turned tragic, Rosado was nominated for an award by his peer.

Edwards Puts on Show for Stars of ‘Ultimate Beastmaster’
By Kenji Thuloweit, 412th Test Wing Public Affairs / Published March 02, 2017

Mixed martial arts fighter Anderson Silva (left) and actor Terry Crews pose for a photo with Airmen from the 412th Security Forces Squadron. The squadron put on a military working dog demonstration as part of the stars’ visit Feb. 24 to introduce the new Netflix show “Ultimate Beastmaster.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)

A new Netflix show made its debut at Edwards with a USO screening event Feb. 24 at the base theater. “Ultimate Beastmaster” is a one-hour-long competition show featuring teams from six countries who try to make it through an obstacle course called The Beast.

The international competition has six customized broadcasts featuring local languages, competitors and hosts from each competing country. Two of the hosts, American actor Terry Crews and Brazilian mixed martial arts fighter Anderson Silva, introduced the free USO screening at the theater along with executive producer David Broome.

“The reason why we were really excited about bringing the show to Edwards Air Force Base is because there is no better audience, no better number of people that have gone through obstacles, conquered them, crushed them and trained on them,” said Broome. “The show is full of inspiration and there’s nothing more inspiring than doing something for our Armed Forces.”

Before the screening, the celebrity visitors were given a tour of base facilities, including the tower and a visit to Hangar 1600 to meet with maintenance personnel and pose for pictures in front of aircraft.

Crews said seeing military aircraft up close, and all the work and dedication that goes into maintaining and upgrading them, made him feel safe.

“The big thing is that you always hear about [Edwards AFB] and to actually come and see it live…I was actually more impressed,” said Crews. “The honest truth is that if you run the skies you run the world, and our Air Force is the most powerful thing in the world and we have to keep it strong.”

Crews added, “It’s inspiring because of the dedication. You see every member, every person – from the person who is cleaning [an aircraft] to the person who is working on it, to the person who is fixing it and the person who is flying it – everyone is really trying to be the best in the world at what they do…There’s a reason why we’re the best air force in the world.”

The trio also visited with members of the 412th Security Forces Squadron and the 812th Civil Engineering Squadron, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight. They observed a military working dog apprehending a mock suspect during a demonstration. Silva got the opportunity to detonate a small amount of explosives while Crews donned a bomb suit. The EOD Airmen also let Broome operate an explosive-response-team robot.

The group also visited the base library where they met with Airmen and family members before heading to the base theater for the premiere.

“It’s an honor…just meeting so many great people in our Armed Forces,” Broome said. “First and foremost it was always about the people today that we met and the generosity of their time and their warmth. My favorite part after meeting all the great people was seeing the B-52 and going into the repair and maintenance area. That was just spectacular, to be that close to that kind of machinery. To be a proud American and be that close to something we built is just amazing.”

Schriever Defender Earns Award for Leadership
By Airman 1st Class William Tracy, 50th Space Wing Public Affairs, March 02, 2017

Capt. Adam Palmer, 50th Security Forces Squadron, was recently awarded the Air Force Security Forces Association Company Grade Officer of the Year award for the Front Range for his exceptional work as an operations officer. Tasks accomplished under his leadership included leading teams for the president’s Air Force Academy visit and organizing drivers for Olympic Committee athletes. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Airman 1st Class William Tracy)

For Capt. Adam Palmer, earning the Air Force Security Forces Association (AFSFA) Company Grade Officer of the Year award for the Front Range is a reflection of his merits, those of his mentors and the Airmen he leads.

“Winning this award is a true testament to the outstanding Airmen I’ve had the pleasure of leading, as well as the incredible leadership and mentors who have invested countless hours into developing me as a young officer,” said Palmer. “I couldn’t be more grateful.”

The AFSFA CGO award is given to exceptional officers whose performance was worthy of recognition among SF personnel throughout the Front Range. Palmer received the award for his leadership at the 50th Security Forces Squadron as an operations officer.

“Palmer has expertly acted on behalf of commanders during their absence and led the unit for a number of weeks,” said Lt. Col. Michael Speck, 50 SFS commander. “As an operations officer, he leads the bulk of the unit Airmen and does so with extreme confidence.”

Palmer was prior enlisted for five years before commissioning as an officer, joining the Air Force in 2007. His interest in law enforcement and helping people led him to Security Forces. His enlisted service developed his passion for leadership and he decided to commission.

“When I commissioned in 2012, I knew I wanted to remain in the career field because of the opportunities it provides junior officers to lead large amounts of Airmen, which is my greatest passion,” said Palmer.

Since being assigned to the 50 SFS, Speck said Palmer’s leadership capabilities have excelled.

“He leads the largest section, in the unit with the youngest of the youngest Airmen assigned, in a superb manner,” he said.

Speck cited numerous examples of Palmer’s leadership accomplishments, including leading teams for the president’s Air Force Academy visit and organizing drivers for Olympic Committee athletes. 

“While in pre-deployment training, he was the defense force commander responsible for 256 enlisted personnel. He led his Airmen through relentless leadership through his assigned Senior NCO Corps to accomplish all training and personnel requirements,” he said. 

Palmer hopes the award will be one of many highlights in a long Air Force career. 

“I plan to remain in the Air Force and ultimately retire,” said Palmer. “My time in this career field has been extremely rewarding. I have learned more from my Airmen than I could have ever imagined. I have also had excellent commanders who have always been supportive of my career desires and have pushed me to continuously better myself.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed this chapter of my life and wouldn’t trade it for the world,” he said.

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