2021 Security Forces Outstanding Units & Individual Awards

I am extremely pleased to announce the following squadrons were selected as 2021 Air Force Security Forces Unit Award winners. These awards recognize the extraordinary contributions each squadron made to the DAF as a whole, the Security Forces Enterprise, and the unique missions at their respective duty stations.



Outstanding Large Unit:  55th Security Forces Squadron, Offutt AFB, NE (ACC)

Outstanding Medium Unit:  28th Security Forces Squadron, Ellsworth AFB, SD (AFGSC)

Outstanding Small Unit:  422d Security Forces Squadron, RAF Croughton, UK (USAFE)

Outstanding Air Reserve Component Unit:  910th Security Forces Squadron, Youngstown ARS, OH (AFRC)

These awards bring much deserved credit to each unit, the individuals assigned, their installations, and the DAF. Sincere congratulations go to all the nominees and the winners for their significant achievements.

I am extremely pleased to announce the following individuals were selected as 2021 Air Force Security Forces Individual Award winners. These Defender awards recognize the extraordinary contributions individuals made to the U.S. Air Force as a whole, the Security Forces Enterprise, and the unique missions at their respective duty stations.



Colonel Billy Jack Carter Award:  1st Lt Thomas R. Plasay, 9th Security Forces Squadron, Beale AFB, CA 

A1C Elizabeth Jacobson Award for Expeditionary Excellence:  SrA Terrance T. Suitt II, 628th Security Forces Squadron, JB Charleston, SC

SSgt “TJ” Lobraico Award for Excellence:  TSgt Sean T. Rowe, 105th Base Defense Squadron, Stewart ANGB, NY

Company Grade Officer:  Capt Samuel L. Doyel, 4th Security Forces Squadron, Seymour Johnson AFB, NC

Flight-level Senior Noncommissioned Officer:  MSgt Bronsha L. Smith, 802d Security Forces Squadron, JB San Antonio-Lackland, TX

Flight-level Noncommissioned Officer:  TSgt Patrick A. Currie, 816th Security Forces Squadron, JB Andrews, MD

Flight-level Airman:  SrA Alyssa C. Salazar, 48th Security Forces Squadron, RAF Lakenheath, UK

Flight-level Civilian Employee (SUPERVISOR):  GS-08 Valorie J. Cothran, 96th Security Forces Squadron, Eglin AFB, FL

Flight-level Civilian Employee (NON-SUPERVISOR):  GS-07 Stephanie R. LaFayette, 6th Security Forces Squadron, MacDill AFB, FL

Support-staff Senior Noncommissioned Officer:  SMSgt Zachary W. Simpson, 18th Security Forces Squadron, Kadena AB, JP

Support-staff Noncommissioned Officer:  TSgt Alexander W. Messinger, 802d Security Forces Squadron, JB San Antonio-Lackland, TX 

Support-staff Airman:  SrA Erin D. Sherrill, 412th Security Forces Squadron, Edwards AFB, CA

Support-staff Civilian:  GS-11 Alexander T. Higdon, 48th Security Forces Squadron, RAF Lakenheath, UK

Security Forces Military Working Dog Professional of the Year:  TSgt Andres Posada, 97th Security Forces Squadron, Altus AFB, OK

Security Forces Combat Arms Professional of the Year:  SSgt Nicholas S. Mullins, 20th Security Forces Squadron, Shaw AFB, SC

Higher Headquarters Company Grade Officer:  Capt Kyle A. Buss, HQ 9th Air Force, Shaw AFB, SC

Higher Headquarters Noncommissioned Officer:  SMSgt Matthew L. Tilley, HQ USAFE-AFAFRICA, Ramstein AB, GE

Higher Headquarters Civilian:  GS-11 Juan C. Chavez, HQ 12th Air Force, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ

Air Reserve Component Company Grade Officer:  Capt Erik M. Minshall, 178th Security Forces Squadron, Springfield ANGB, OH  

Air Reserve Component Senior Noncommissioned Officer:  MSgt Steven A. Neshkoff, 911th Security Forces Squadron, Pittsburgh ARS, PA

Air Reserve Component Noncommissioned Officer:  TSgt Justin N. Jarrett, 507th Security Forces Squadron, Tinker AFB, OK

Air Reserve Component Airman:  SrA Brandon A. Picazzo, 204th Security Forces Squadron, Fort Bliss, TX

IAW AFMAN 36-2806, military recipients of these awards are authorized to wear the Air Force Recognition Ribbon.  These awards bring much deserved credit to each unit, the individuals assigned, their installations, and the United States Air Force. Sincere congratulations go to all the nominees and the winners for their significant achievements.

Director of Security Forces
DCS/Logistics, Engineering & Force Protection

Your 2022 AFSFA National Meeting in Dayton

If you have never attended an AFSFA National Meeting this year’s in Dayton would be a great place to start! The 36th annual AFSFA National Meeting is shaping up to be one to remember. So let me see if I can entice you to join us this September with a general outline.

We will be based at The Radisson Convention Center Dayton, 33 East Fifth St., Dayton, OH 45402 from 21-25 September 2022. You may now call the Reservations Center at 937-660-5857 use the group code Air Force Security Forces Association to reserve a room at our group rate or you can go online at:  https://tinyurl.com/AFSFA-2022-Hotel Members are allowed to book an additional 3 days before and after the meeting at the same rate subject to availability.

The reservation link allows you to book rooms over the dates of Sunday, 19 September 2022 thru Tuesday, 27 September 2022 (check-out on Wednesday, 28 September 2022). The room rates are guaranteed up to 20 August 2022, after that they may not be available.

The room rates are: $119.00 plus tax, single/double occupancy in each room and includes a full hot breakfast, complimentary free self-parking, free Wifi and complimentary airport shuttle service to Dayton International Airport and within 5 miles radius of the hotel.

Security Forces Spotlight: Women’s History Month
Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Women’s History Month stems from International Women’s Day, which the United Nations began observing in 1975, “to recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality and development of women; and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security.”

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8th as National Women’s History week for the United States. The National Women’s History Project petitioned to expand the event to the entire month of March six years later.

Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps

Before the advent of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, women worked alongside official military members without legal protection, medical care, and benefits. In 1941, Congress authorized the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC).

Spurred by the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, over 35,000 women applied for less 1,000 positions within the WAAC. Women initially served as clerks, typists, drivers, cooks, and unit cadre, but gradually, the Army realized women could fulfill more versatile roles.

While this was a step in the right direction, women were paid less than their male counterparts and lacked the same benefits.

To combat the decline in recruiting efforts, bills were introduced and approved in Congress dropping the “auxiliary” status of the WAAC and allowing women to receive all of the rank, privileges, and benefits of their male counterparts.

Women continue to break down barriers and take on challenging assignments, demonstrating not only that they belong, but that they can lead fellow Airmen.

In 2019, 1st Lt. Chelsey Hibsch was the first Air Force female Airman to earn the Army Ranger Tab. 1st Lt. Chelsey Hibsch, along with her classmates, underwent rigorous tasks, challenging themselves mentally and physically, testing their ability to persevere despite adversity.

Often known as the one of the Army’s toughest courses, Ranger school seeks to develop proficiency in small unit tactics and combat leadership.

Women in the Air Force

During WWII, female Airmen served as weather forecasters and observers, electrical specialists, sheet metal workers, link trainer instructors, control tower specialists, airplane mechanics, photo-laboratory technicians and photo interpreters.

The Air Force also created two female flying units, which were allowed to fly stateside assignments.

More than 1,000 women were trained on every aircraft in the Army’s arsenal, flying gunnery targets, transporting equipment and personnel, and flight-testing repaired aircrafts. President Jimmy Carter granted military status to the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots in 1977.

Retired Air National Guard Brigadier General Linda McTague joined the Air Force in 1981 before women could fly combat aircraft.

Eager to fly, McTague flew operational support aircraft, working her way to the command position of the District of Columbia Air National Guard’s 201st Airlift Squadron in 1997.

In 2003, McTague took command of the D.C. Air National Guard’s 113th Wing, including the 121st Fighter Squadron and her previous squadron, the 201st Airlift Squadron.

While McTague never viewed herself as a “pioneer”, she paved the way for women to follow not only in her footsteps but pursue careers in other areas of the Air Force.

Women in Security Forces

Women were able to enter the law enforcement specialist training for the first time in 1971.

Today, females make up 21.3% of the Air Force population, which 22.6% serving as officers and 20.9% serving in the enlisted corps. Senior leaders are actively looking at how to reduce barriers and increase retention, progression, and development. Female Defenders have numerous prospects exciting opportunities available to them. The Director of Security Forces created the Female Defender Initiative which aims to improve retention, progression, and development within the Career Field.

In 2018, Senior Airman Jessica Ortiz-Villa became the first woman in Air Force Global Strike Command to become a Raven. Ravens are specially trained security forces personnel who provide security for aircraft that travel through high threat areas.

Ravens are trained at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, covering cross-cultural awareness, legal considerations, embassy operations, airfield survey techniques, explosive ordinance awareness, and aircraft searches.

Security Forces has a new female Career Field Manager, Ms. Kay Rodgers.

To find out more about the critical work that Security Forces does, visit the website. Follow us on @afdefenders or www.facebook.com/AFDefenders to stay up to date!

Security Forces Airman, BCSO Deputies Apprehend Three after High-Speed Chase

3 March 2022, Patrick Space Force Base, FL
By A1C Samuel Becker

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Sarah Hardy, 45th Security Forces Squadron installation patrolman, scans the fence line at Patrick Space Force Base, Fla., Feb. 11, 2022. Hardy helped apprehend three suspects after a high-speed chase in December 2021. (U.S. Space Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samuel Becker)

Defenders from the 45th Security Forces Squadron apprehended three occupants of a stolen vehicle from St. Augustine, Florida, after a high-speed chase near Patrick Space Force Base Dec. 16, 2021.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Sarah Hardy, 45th SFS installation patrolman, was conducting checks of the Pineda Beach parking lot, which is part of Patrick SFB property, when she noticed a suspicious vehicle at the east side of the parking lot.

She pulled behind the vehicle, a Chevrolet Silverado, and requested U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Dusek, 45th SFS base defense operations controller, conduct a National Crime Information Center/Florida Crime Information Center (NCIC/FCIC) check on the vehicle.

While the plates were being run, the Silverado left the parking lot with Hardy close behind.

A few moments later, Dusek discovered the vehicle had been reported stolen, along with a handgun, which was reportedly inside the vehicle with two magazines, and relayed that information to Hardy.

“When I heard that the vehicle was stolen, I turned on my overhead lights,” said Hardy. “The vehicle immediately sped off in an erratic manner turning onto Pineda Causeway.”

“It was a stressful situation,” said Dusek. “I immediately let her know that they were likely armed with a weapon.”

Dusek also requested the Brevard County Sheriff's Office respond to assist Hardy, who was pursuing the truck as it traveled west on Pineda Causeway.

“Our speeds reached well over 100 mph,” Hardy said. “The vehicle was driving erratically and weaving in and out of traffic, but I was focused, and my training took over.”

At approximately 7:30 p.m., the Silverado collided with a Toyota Tundra halfway between Merritt Island and Satellite Beach, then collided with a concrete guardrail before stopping.

Fearful that she could face a lethal threat, Hardy exited her patrol car with her weapon drawn, a Sig Saur 9mm handgun, and took cover.

Shortly thereafter she was joined by BCSO deputies.

Dylan Weber was the first BCSO deputy to arrive on scene.

“Me and Weber had all occupants of the vehicle exit one by one,” said Hardy. “Then we instructed them to (assume) a kneeling position at the rear of the vehicle until backup arrived.”

Minutes later, two more deputies arrived from the BCSO. They instructed each suspect to walk backwards toward them and Hardy handcuffed each one.

Hardy then demanded any other occupants who may be in the Silverado to get out. Then, she and the BCSO deputies performed a tactical sweep of the vehicle.

“Deputy Weber and I noticed the smell of marijuana emitting from the silverado, as well as a handgun on the passenger side floorboard with two loaded magazines,” said Hardy.

After searching the Silverado, Hardy checked on the driver of the Tundra, she said. He was shaken from the incident, but refused medical attention.

“Hardy did an outstanding job,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Casey Klask, 45th SFS flight sergeant. “I couldn't have handled it any better.”

Eielson Defenders Bring New Capabilities through Federal Accreditations

By Staff Sgt. Beaux Hebert, 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 7 January 2022


Airmen from the 354th Security Forces Squadron fire handguns during a Special Response Team tryout 23 June 2021, on Eielson AFB, AK. With the addition of these security forces assets, Eielson’s lethality and readiness increases tremendously. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Beaux Hebert)

Newly appointed Air Advisors, Crisis Negotiators and Special Reaction Team (SRT) Defenders from the 354th Security Forces Squadron were recognized by their squadron leadership Jan. 7, 2022 at a ceremony on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

“Today we are recognizing our recent graduates of a federally-certified crisis negotiations course, federally certified SRT course and our new air advisors,” said 1st Lt. Adam Paini, the 354th SFS Contingency Operations officer in charge.

Air advisors work with partner nations to develop their aviation enterprises using the skills they already have as an Airman. Air advisors are trained to do five core functions: assess, train, advise, assist and equip. Eielson’s Air Advisor Defenders will be crucial when integrating with partner nations during Agile Combat Employment (ACE) situations.

Crisis Negotiators are security forces Defenders trained to successfully negotiate with emotionally distraught or deranged individuals. These Defenders have practiced and learned how to react to highly volatile situations, making every effort to use what they've learned to resolve the situations peacefully. This is a crucial asset to Eielson due to the harsh Alaskan weather and increased darkness contributing to mental health problems for some Airmen.

An SRT is the military version of civilian law enforcement’s special weapons and tactics (SWAT). They are dedicated to the preservation of life and property during critical incidents and high-risk operations. They are called upon to respond for service of high-risk search and arrests; incidents involving barricaded suspects, hostage rescues, or active shooters; crowd control; and other situations requiring resources beyond the capacity of the normal operations.

“This course has helped me become a better Defender,” said Airman 1st Class Wyatt Wilsey, an SRT course graduate. “The tactics and capabilities I learned there make me a more lethal and capable defender. I also look forward to passing on this knowledge to the rest of the squadron to help us all become better.”

With the addition of these security forces assets, Eielson’s lethality and readiness increases tremendously.

SrA Alexandranell Soto, a 354th Security Forces Special Response Team member, receives her duty identifier patch during a recognition ceremony 7 January 2022, on Eielson AFB, AK. An SRT is the military version of civilian law enforcement’s special weapons and tactics (SWAT). They are dedicated to the preservation of life and property during critical incidents and high-risk operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Elizabeth Schoubroek)

“These newly trained Airmen bring capabilities that we’ve never had before,” Paini said. “Defenders receive a decent amount of training for crisis response and high-risk events but very little specialized training. We were able to give these Airmen an opportunity to step outside the normal routine and receive training from different military branches and civilian departments which allows us to be more capable than a typical security forces unit when faced with those unique situations.”

Looking towards the future, the 354th SFS is going to offer more of these opportunities to their Airmen to continue to build up Eielson’s lethality and readiness.

“This is only the first iteration of getting Airmen certified. We want to continue to give these opportunities to all our Airmen and integrate the training they learned into our daily battle rhythm.” Paini said.



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