Defender Family – I wanted to personally let you know that Maj Gen Sherman was selected for a new position - as Vice Superintendent of the Air Force Academy. He began his new position last week. As the first Two Star in the role, he will help develop the leaders that our Airmen and Guardians need.

Maj Gen Sherman wants to convey his honor in serving as your Director and advocate for the past two years. He is thankful for the opportunity to serve everyone that makes up the Total Force.

Effectively immediately, I will serve as Acting Director, Security Forces, Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Headquarters United States Air Force. I look forward to advocating for the career field until our new Director, Brig Gen(S) Brian Filler assumes the position.

 It is only June, but this has been an incredibly fast-paced year for our Defender Family. Great power competition is the central context for the future of air and space power. The Department of the Air Force is doing more than ever before to deter, defend, and, if necessary, defeat aggression against the United States, our allies, partners, and our interests.

Defenders answered the call these past few years, culminating in groundbreaking events such as Defender Flag and a refocused Defender Challenge. The hard work across the career field delivered results both in our base defense operations and in our ability to shape and influence the work being done for the Agile Combat Employment (ACE) scheme of maneuver. These events helped to demonstrate that with the right mindset and focus, Security Forces can be a combat capable and lethal expeditionary force for 2024 and beyond.

Our Defender Family made incredible progress - and you should be proud you were a part of that success. I am excited to watch as Defenders launch into the future with the same drive and make ourselves ready for what the future holds and what our Department of the Air Force needs.

Thank you for everything you do every day. It is not lost on us what you endure to Defend the Airmen, Guardians, Families, and Resources that collectively make us the most powerful force on Earth. Please take stock in how incredibly important each one of you are to our Defender Family and to the Department of the Air Force.

Mr Timothy A. Gerald
Acting Director Security Forces

Read the article here: Air Force Elevates USAFA Vice Superintendent to General Officer Role (airandspaceforces.com)

Security Forces, Public Affairs Among Winners at 2024 Tinker Spark Tank Competition
By Clayton Cummins, Tinker AFB, OK, Published May 29, 2024

Judges of the 2024 Spark Tank Competition ask questions to presenters who are advocating their innovative idea be funded at Tinker Air Force Base May 14, 2024. The annual Spark Tank competition leverages the inherent innovation of Airmen to create transformative opportunities and foster a culture of innovation to solve problems and enhance the effectiveness of the 72nd Air Base Wing’s mission to train hard, rapidly deploy, fight and win. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Paul Shirk)

$30,000 in Spark Tank Innovation funds were awarded to two entities of the 72nd Air Base Wing at Tinker Air Force Base May 14, 2024.

Spark Tank is an annual competition where Airmen pitch innovative ideas to 72nd Air Base Wing leadership. Ideas must be aimed at creating transformative opportunities and foster a culture of innovation to solve problems and enhance the effectiveness of the 72nd ABW’s mission to train hard, rapidly deploy, fight and win.

Submissions for the competition were accepted in early 2024. The top six submissions were voted on and presented to 72nd ABW leadership at the Tinker Event Center.

Judges of the Spark Tank competition consisted of Col. Abby Ruscetta, 72nd Air Base Wing and Installation commander, Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Sipos, 72nd ABW Command Chief, Maj. Michael Kazakoff, 72nd Comptroller Squadron Commander, Chief Master Sgt.  Thomas Kasten, 72nd Mission Support Group Senior Enlisted Leader and Ms. Roena Roberts, 72nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Director.

For this year’s competition, Team Tinker was challenged to think about innovative solutions to transform how the 72nd ABW drives research, development, testing, sustainment, support, and infrastructure to optimize combat readiness in all aspects.

“The big idea here is, we put our money where our mouth is,” said Ruscetta. “We reward our innovators so we can let them pursue their ideas.”

Awarded $15,000, and placing third, was the 72nd ABW Public Affairs Office with its idea to upgrade and modernize its photo studio. The upgrade aims to increase efficiency in room set-up and switching between photo styles, backdrops and assist with customer experience.

72nd Security Forces Squadron was awarded $10,000, and second place, with its idea to build a new training site. The facility, created within an existing building, would be used for active shooter training, close quarters battle and any other threat response. Spark Tank Innovation funds will be used to provide doors/windows and potentially provide the rest of the funding to finish the project.

Master Sgt Alejandro Figueroa presents his idea to construct a larger, more effective training site for the 72nd Security Forces Squadron at Tinker Air Force Base May 14, 2024. The annual Spark Tank competition leverages the inherent innovation of Airmen to create transformative opportunities and foster a culture of innovation to solve problems and enhance the effectiveness of the 72nd Air Base Wing’s mission to train hard, rapidly deploy, fight and win. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Paul Shirk)

First place, and $5,000, was also awarded to 72nd Security Forces Squadron for its submission to purchase iPads. Defenders will use the tablets to gain instant access to multiple law enforcement databases which enable agencies to operate more efficiently, effectively, and safely in fulfilling their mission to protect and serve the community.

“There are a lot of smart people in this room that came together with some great ideas to push forward,” said Ruscetta. “Thank you for bringing your ideas and for the courage to come up here to present and pitch them.  For those who did not win today—hold your head high.  You have a great idea and you stood tall today and presented it to us.  Keep pushing those good ideas.”

Anthony Drummond, representing the 72nd ABW Civil Engineering Directorate and Joshua Schwertner, representing the 72nd ABW Communications Directorate, also presented ideas to the Spark Tank judges.

The Spark Tank competition is slated to return in 2025, where leadership hope to see another group of innovators come forward with ideas to transform how the 72nd ABW drives research, development, testing, sustainment, support, and infrastructure to optimize combat readiness in all aspects.

ACADEMY, WING HONOR 1ST LT. JOSEPH D. HELTON’S SACRIFICE
By Randy Roughton, U.S. Air Force Academy Strategic Communications

U.S. Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark applauds as 1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton Jr.’s mother, Jiffy Helton-Sarver, watches his father, Joseph Helton, and Senior Airman Chelsea McComb unveil the new sign for the Large Vehicle Inspection Site. The Academy dedicated the 1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton Large Vehicle Inspection Site in a ceremony May 10, 2024. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. – The U.S. Air Force Academy dedicated the south gate security facility as the 1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton Jr. Large Vehicle Inspection Site in a ceremony May 10. The inspection site is a security-forces operated force protection facility used to inspect commercial vehicles.

"1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton Jr. is pictured on patrol in southern Baghdad in 2009. Helton died Sept. 8, 2009, of wounds sustained when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device near Baghdad during a deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Courtesy photo provided by Jiffy Helton-Sarver)

Academy and 10th Air Base Wing leaders joined Helton’s family, friends and fellow security forces defenders at the dedication ceremony. A large display case containing Helton’s cadet parade uniform and flight suit, which his family provided, is now showcased inside the facility. Helton’s service details are inscribed on a stone made from Terrazzo marble with his motto: “Don’t be a weak sauce.” Helton graduated from the Academy in 2007.

Frontline of protection

Retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Shadd McKee, a former security forces team member who served on Helton’s team in Iraq, served as the ceremony’s emcee.

“This facility serves as the frontline of protection for his alma mater,” McKee said.

"A stone made from Terrazzo marble with the details of 1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton Jr.’s service is shown. It is part of a showcase that includes Helton’s U.S. Air Force Academy flight suit and parade uniform. The Academy dedicated the 1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton Large Vehicle Inspection Site in a ceremony May 10, 2024. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

Bronze Star Medal with Valor and the Purple Heart medal recipient Helton was killed Sept. 8, 2009, of wounds sustained when his vehicle was hit by an explosively formed projectile near Baghdad. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor and the Purple Heart medal. Shortly before the attack, Helton had completed his six-month volunteer deployment but extended it for the opportunity to command his detachment.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 24-year-old Helton deployed as a security forces officer on a police transition team. His team trained, mentored and assisted Iraqi police force members. He was assigned to the 6th Security Forces Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. Since Sept. 8, 2016, a memorial statue has stood before Helton Hall at MacDill.

"Cadet 1st Class Morgan Matyoka leads U.S. Air Force Academy Squadron 19 in formation during the dedication of the 1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton Jr. Large Vehicle Inspection Site in a ceremony May 10, 2024. Helton, Class of 2007, was a member of the squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

The Academy community remembers

As a cadet, Helton was commander of Cadet Squadron 19. The Graduate War Memorial includes his name. Located at the north end of the Air Gardens near the flagpole, this polished marble monument is a memorial to the graduates who have lost their lives in combat. The inscription at the top reads “In memory of our fellow graduates who have fallen in battle.” The Association of Graduates presented it to the Cadet Wing in 1970.

Along with Academy and 10th ABW leaders, Helton’s mother and father, U.S. Army veteran Joseph Helton, also attended the ceremony. Helton’s mother, U.S. Navy veteran Jiffy Helton-Sarver, said she hoped the facility’s new name would honor not only her son but the sacrifices of all security forces members.

1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton Jr.’s mother, Jiffy Helton-Sarver, poses beside her son’s display case inside the south gate’s large vehicle inspection site. The Academy dedicated the 1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton Large Vehicle Inspection Site in a ceremony May 10, 2024. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

Honoring the security forces career that Helton loved

“There isn’t anything that anybody can do or say to fill the space that Joseph left,” Helton-Sarver said. “For me, it means so much to security forces and those who knew Joseph, like his sisters who now have their own children. Hopefully, the dedication of the building will help validate the sacrifices of those in the security forces field.”

As early as high school, Helton consistently preferred being part of a team, his mother said. He chose security forces over a potential career as a pilot because he “didn’t want to be flying over his guys.”

"Then-Cadet 4th Class Joseph D. Helton Jr. poses for a photo at the U.S. Air Force Academy Honor Court during Parents Weekend in September 2003. Helton was killed Sept. 8, 2009, of wounds sustained when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device near Baghdad during a deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Courtesy photo provided by Jiffy Helton-Sarver)

Showing his promise as a cadet

During his four years as a cadet, Helton demonstrated leadership skills that he further implemented two years later in Iraq. He regularly stayed up until midnight doing his homework because he spent so much of his day helping others, his mother said.

“He always tried to improve himself,” she said. “Winning was nice, but if he made himself better, he was happy, and he always tried to help somebody who was struggling.”

Then-Cadet 1st Class Joseph D. Helton Jr. walks with family members immediately after participating in the U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2007 Graduation Parade. The Academy dedicated the 1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton Large Vehicle Inspection Site in a ceremony May 10, 2024. (Courtesy photo provided by Jiffy Helton-Sarver)

Maj Gen Thomas P. Sherman

Every year, National Police Week serves as a great reminder of the bravery, sacrifice, and dedication exhibited by law enforcement officers across the globe. It's a time to reflect on their unwavering commitment to safeguarding communities, often at great personal risk.

As we observe National Police Week on May 12 – 18, let us honor the men and women who selflessly serve and protect. National Police Week pays tribute to law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty and honors those who continue to serve with courage and integrity.

The National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service on May 15 will honor those that gave the ultimate sacrifice. Thousands of officers, families, and supporters will gather at noon on the west front of the U.S. Capitol to pay their respects to the 282 fallen heroes whose names were recently added to the memorial. The memorial honors federal, tribal, state, and local law enforcement officers.

At this year’s event, five fallen Department of the Air Force Defenders will be added to the memorial. Staff Sgt. John Thomas Self was killed by an improvised explosive device in Iraq on May 14, 2007, as he led his team on a joint police patrol with the local police. Airman Trinity Leeann Reinhart was killed on September 16, 2023, in an off-base single vehicle crash and was the passenger in the vehicle. Airman Reinhart was returning to base after a Nuclear Security Operation and following behind another Air Force vehicle.  Staff Sgt. Charles Lane Huskey, A1C Barry Holmes, and Senior Airman Donald Herman Heitkamp were killed in in a helicopter crash on May 29, 1986. The Defenders were assigned to the 45th Missile Security Squadron supporting nuclear security operations.

Additionally, Timothy Gerald, Deputy Director of Security Forces, will attend the 36th Annual Candlelight Vigil on the National Mall on May 13 on behalf of all Air Force Security Forces. The names engraved on the memorial are read aloud during the vigil.

National Police Week fosters community engagement and strengthens relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Law enforcement agencies often collaborate with military police forces to enhance base security. This partnership allows for the sharing of resources, intelligence, and expertise to address security challenges effectively.

“It's essential to recognize that supporting law enforcement extends beyond this designated week,” said Deputy Director Timothy Gerald. “This includes properly resourcing law enforcement organizations and advocating for reform within the criminal justice system – to build a safer society for all.”

Active duty, reserve, guard and civilian Defenders play a crucial role in base defense by providing security, enforcing laws, and responding to emergencies within and around military installations. These individuals work tirelessly to uphold the rule of law, protect the vulnerable, and ensure public safety.

In the past year, we implemented occupational medical examinations for Defenders and removed barriers to seeking mental healthcare in our career field’s retention standard. We continue to move forward with the Model Defender accession effort, identifying and classifying new enlistees with attributes aligned with the base defense mindset.

Additionally, the Female Defender Initiative (FDI) is fostering a culture where Security Forces women thrive and identifying opportunities to change policy in ways that benefit all our Defenders. Over the past year, the FDI Action Team has visited eight bases and met with Defenders across the Total Force, working to gather inputs, provide support, and ensure our Airmen know that they are heard and advocated for at the highest levels.

Our Civilian Security Forces implemented a mentorship program that aims to foster professional growth, networking opportunities, and knowledge exchange between experienced professionals and individuals who are eager to learn and grow in their respective fields. By participating as a mentor or mentee, they have had the opportunity to share knowledge, insights, and experiences with aspiring professionals, provide guidance and support to mentees as they navigate their career paths and expand their own network and build meaningful connections with fellow professionals.

“As we observe National Police Week this year, let us take a moment to express our gratitude to the brave men and women who selflessly serve and protect our communities,” said Maj. Gen. Sherman, Director of Security Forces. “Whether through a simple thank you, participating in local events, or advocating for positive change, let us stand in solidarity with law enforcement officers and honor their invaluable contributions to our society. Together, let us ensure that their sacrifices are never forgotten, and their legacy of service continues to inspire future generations.”

BATTLE TESTED SECURITY

In the heart of every veteran lies a commitment to serve, a discipline unmatched by many, and a resilience that endures beyond the battlefield. Recognizing the value and potential of these qualities, Battle Tested Security, founded in 2016, transcends the traditional boundaries of a security firm to embody a noble cause: the empowerment and reintegration of veterans into civilian life. This Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business emerges not just as a provider of premium security services but as a beacon of hope and opportunity for veterans seeking a meaningful transition.

A Continuation of Service

With a workforce comprising 70% veterans, Battle Tested Security stands as a testament to the company's commitment to serving those who have served their country. By offering roles that utilize the unique skills and experiences of veterans, the company ensures that its mission extends beyond its security services. This blend of safety and hospitality does not just set a new benchmark in the security sector but also offers veterans a platform to continue their dedication to service in a new yet familiar environment.

Mission-Driven to Empower

At its core, Battle Tested Security is driven by a singular vision: to empower veterans. This is realized through a structured support system that emphasizes camaraderie and offers flexible employment opportunities. The aim is to facilitate a seamless transition from military to civilian life, recognizing the challenges this journey entails. Through this support, the company not only aids veterans in finding new purpose but also in achieving a sustainable work-life balance, highlighted by competitive pay, accrued paid time off, and various resources tailored for veterans.

Beyond Employment: A Holistic Approach

Understanding the multifaceted needs of veterans, Battle Tested Security offers an array of benefits and resources that cater to both personal and professional development:

  • Competitive Pay & Flexible Schedules: Acknowledging the importance of financial stability and personal time.
  • Veteran Resources: From benefit assistance and financial counseling to mental health support and programs for homeless veterans, the company provides a comprehensive support system.
  • Growth Opportunities: With initiatives like the Accelerated Leadership Program and Executive Development Programs, veterans have pathways to further their careers within the company.
  • Advanced Educational Assistance: Supporting continuous learning and skill enhancement.

A Nationwide Presence

Battle Tested Security's influence spans across major U.S. cities including Baltimore, Phoenix, Miami, Denver, Austin, Dallas, Washington D.C., and more. This wide-reaching presence not only signifies the company's growth but also its capacity to offer support and opportunities to veterans across the country.

In The Spotlight

The company's impactful mission and unique approach have not gone unnoticed. Featured in a Military Times article, Battle Tested Security's journey from a side gig to a full-fledged security company is a story of visionary leadership and steadfast dedication to the veteran community.

https://www.militarytimes.com/education-transition/2023/05/14/marine-veteran-turns-side-gig-into-security-company/

Join The Mission

For those interested in learning more about Battle Tested Security, exploring career opportunities, or supporting its mission, resources are readily available through the official website and social media channels.

Battle Tested Security is more than a company; it is a commitment to valor, a pledge to support, and a mission to empower. It stands as a shining example of how the skills and dedication of veterans can be harnessed for the greater good, ensuring that their service continues in new forms, long after their military careers have ended.

 

 

 

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