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.

 

UNIT AWARD WINNERS ARE LISTED IN THEIR RESPECTIVE CATEGORIES:

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.

 

INDIVIDUAL AWARD WINNERS ARE LISTED IN THEIR RESPECTIVE CATEGORIES: 

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.

VR
ROY W. COLLINS, Brig Gen, USAF
Director of Security Forces
DCS/Logistics, Engineering & Force Protection

Your AFSFA Board of Directors Candidates for 2022!

AFSFA members, as you may already know, we elect three new board members every year. The new board members are announced at the national meeting. All play a critical role in helping guide the development of programs and the association overall. Here are the requirements for board candidacy:

Each candidate must be a regular member of the Association and have maintained a paid membership in the Association for the two preceding years. The board is divided into three groups of three directors each. Each year one group of directors is elected to a term of three (3) years by the membership. Board members are expected to attend both of the board meetings each year … a mid-year meeting in San Antonio in the Spring and the National Meeting in the Fall. They also join in board teleconferences between these meetings

Current Candidates:

Scott Castillo

I was elected to my first term as an AFSFA Director in 2010. Prior to joining your Board of Directors, I provided services to the AFSFA as its Legal Counsel.  You elected me as your Vice President/President Elect in 2011, and I then assumed the position as National President four years later. Completing my term as President, I was elected to the Board of Directors.

The Board and the AFSFA Officers have done incredible work for the past several years, and I believe I have contributed to that growth and progress, and I would like to continue to be a part of that progress. I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve as a Board Member, your Vice President, and as your President and I continue to be dedicated to this organization and its goals, and I wish to continue to serve the AFSFA as a member of the Board. I believe I can continue to be an asset and a benefit to the AFSFA by continuing my service on the Board of Directors. I request and would appreciate your vote.

CMSgt (ret) James I. Fullwood, Sr.

AFSFA Charter and Life member, is currently serving his 10th consecutive year as Secretary of Ron Blatman Evergreen Chapter in Washington State. He served 30 years active duty in the Air Police/Security Police career field, 1966-1997. Assignments included tours of duty stateside in North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, California, and Washington State, and overseas assignments in Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Germany, and Kuwait. His flight level duties included Close-in Sentry, Entry Controller, Security Response Team Member/Leader, Armorer, Security Controller/Alarm Monitor, Observation Tower Sentry, Quick Reaction Team Leader, Security Flight Chief, and LE Patrolman/Flight Chief. His Squadron and Group operations duties included NCOIC: Customs, Corrections, MWD, Standard Evaluation, and Sensor Systems; Superintendent: Weapons System Security, Operations, Plans and Programs, Information Security; and Chief Enlisted Manager.

He twice served as Air Force Sergeants Association Chapter President, McChord AFB 1980-83 and 1993-1995. After Air Force retirement, he worked for 11 years as a Corrections Deputy and Control Room Technician for the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. He received the department Life Saver award and was their representative for Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Thurston County “Cops Bowl for Kids Sake,” a joint criminal justice and fire department bowl-a-thon annual fundraiser. He retired in 2009, eight months after his wife’s Last Guardmount. Since 2014, he has been caring for his disabled younger brother.

Jim played a significant role in his Chapter being awarded the AFSFA Chapter of the Year for 2019 and 2020, and Runner-up in 2021. He continues to serve as a volunteer at the Washington State Soldiers’ Home, support Defender unit activities, contribute news articles, conduct membership briefings and recruitment, and maintain Chapter archives. He helped organize and conduct host Chapter activities during the 2014 AFSFA Conference in Seattle, WA.

Jim’s best reward is the satisfaction of helping and honoring other deserving patriots. As a candidate for AFSFA BOD, he pledges to support AFSFA goals and objectives faithfully and to the best of his ability. He will be honored to receive your vote.

CMSgt (ret) Joseph “Mitch” Mitchell

Mitch was a Defender from 1975 – 2005. After basic training and the SP Academy his assignments included Plattsburgh AFB, NY; RAF Upper Heyford, UK; Mather AFB, CA; Ramstein AB, GE; Grand Forks AFB, ND; Kunsan AB, ROK; Brunssum, NL, and Cheyenne Mountain AFS, CO. His assignments ranged from alert aircraft Close-In Sentry to Security Force Manager including duties as (NATO) Chief of Security Police and Chief of International Military Police, HQ Allied Forces North Europe, Brunssum, The Netherlands. Following retirement from the Air Force, he first went to work for USAA as an Immediate Response Unit representative for insurance claims, then was hired as a Parking Enforcement Officer in the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Specialized Enforcement Division until his retirement in 2019. Earlier, in 2012, he secured support for, and founded The Front Range Chapter. And, still serving as chapter chairman, he continues to work toward enhancing direct support resources for Defenders and their families through local engagement with veteran Defenders and area SFS units as well as efforts at AFSFA national & international levels. He holds an A.A.S, Security Administration from CCAF, an A.A., General Studies from the University of Maryland, and a B.S., Management/Human Resources from Park University, Missouri.

Col (ret) Sally Uebelacker

I have served two terms on the association board since the inception of the organization. I am a charter and life member of the association. I believe that I could benefit the organization by serving another term and would be proud to do so. I am currently the volunteer Director of the Retiree Activities Office at Kirtland Air Force Base. I have 13 years’ service at Sandia National Laboratories where I served as a Sandia Emergency Director and managed multiple security programs to include Information Security, Personnel Security, Foreign Visits and Assignments, Assurance, Integrated Protection Systems, and International Business Operations. As a member of the senior leadership for security, I was involved in the development and execution of the budget, the Center’s strategic initiatives, the effective integration of security and emergency management resources and programs, risk management, and ongoing development of organization and personnel capacity and capabilities. I served twenty-four years in the United States Air Force in Security Forces with my final assignment being the 42d Support Group Commander at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama. Following my Air Force retirement, I attended UNM School of Law. After graduation and becoming a licensed member of the New Mexico Bar, I worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the Second Judicial District where I prosecuted misdemeanor and felony crimes. I received my Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of Tulsa, a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Northern Colorado and a Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico. I am also a graduate and active member of the FBI National Academy Associates a Life-time member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and a Certified Protection Professional.

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.”

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