Security Upgrades Coming to Help Make Base Even Safer

by Argen Duncan, Nucleus editor

3/7/2016 - KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The Kirtland Air Force Base commander assured residents during a town hall meeting Friday that the installation is safe, despite three recent trespassing incidents, and modifications will make it safer.

"Your safety is incredibly important to us," Col. Eric Froehlich, 377th Air Base Wing commander, told an audience of about 200 in the Base Theater.

Col. Richard Demouy, 377th Security Forces Group commander, explained the three incidents.

On Feb. 10, he said, a civilian approached the Gibson Gate, said he was lost and asked to turn around. Instead of complying with the turn-around procedure, the man gunned the vehicle onto base. The intrusion resulted in a vehicle pursuit and arrest of the suspect, who crashed at the closed Eubank gate. He was turned over to Albuquerque Police Department, who took him to a local hospital.

Security Forces turned the man over because APD could pursue greater charges against him. Demouy said the vehicle had been stolen, and the driver claimed to be high on methamphetamine.

On Feb. 22, a man scaled the perimeter fence into a housing area just before 1 a.m. A woman saw and reported him.

APD took part in the search, with Security Forces apprehending the man in 35 minutes. The suspect was again turned over to APD, Demouy said.

Additional calls from residents during the search helped defenders locate the suspect. However, blow-by-blow descriptions of defenders' movements that appeared on Facebook could have hampered the effort and put personnel in more danger, had a hostile party been monitoring the posts, he said.

Two days later, a motorist approached the Gibson Gate, appearing lost. He refused to roll down his window to speak with guards, sped onto the base and dodged the barriers an Airman deployed. Security Forces pursued the vehicle for a little more than half a mile before the driver crashed through the perimeter fence and fled off the base on foot.

Demouy said there was no evidence Kirtland was targeted in any of the incidents.

"It was simply happenstance that they ended up where they ended up," he said.

Demouy said leaders learned from every critical incident. Froehlich and Security Forces officials discussed upgrades and evolving tactics and equipment to ensure fortifications at the gates and along the perimeter were bolstered.

Maj. Brenton Pickrell of the 377th Security Forces Group said defenders are planning upgrades to the base camera system, as well as adding elevated monitoring positions. Froehlich and Demouy fielded several complaints of too little communication during incidents.

Demouy warned that detailed procedures needed to stay private for operational security, and defenders need a chance to get control of the situation before providing information about it. He and Froehlich promised improved communication, as far as practical, in the future.

Carl Grusnick of the Public Affairs Office said his staff would post incident updates on the Kirtland Air Force Base Facebook page when they became available.

Demouy said most of the several hundred Security Forces personnel live on base.

"So like you, we have a vested interest in coming home to an environment that's safe and secure," he said.

Pickrell also highlighted the downward trend of crime on base and at the gate over the last three years. In 2015, property damage, with 31 cases; DWI, with 29 cases; and unauthorized entry, with 21 cases, were the top reported crimes on base.

Kirtland Air Force Base crime trends:

Annual numbers
2013: 313 crimes reported
2014: 254 crimes reported
2015: 118 crimes reported
Change: 62 percent decrease in 3 years

60-day crime rate:
Kirtland: 26 crimes
Albuquerque, within 1 mile of base: 1,024 crimes

Law enforcement to resident ratios:
Kirtland: 1.8 defenders per 100 residents
Albuquerque Police: 1.7 officers per
10,000 residents

Source: Maj. Brenton Pickrell, 377th Security Forces Group


USAF OSI Agents Receive Special Honor for Quick Action in Deadly Afghanistan Attack

by Oriana Pawlyk, Air Force Times, March 8, 2016

Lt Col Michael Mentavios, EDet 2405/CC recognizes SSgt Martinez as an honorary AFOSI Special Agent at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan (Photo: AFOSI)

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations will honor three surviving airmen who sprung into action following a deadly suicide bombing in Afghanistan in December.

Master Sgt Aaron Frederick and Staff Sgt Bradley Mock, both with the 824th Base Defense Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, and Staff Sgt Flavio Martinez, 105th Security Forces Squadron, Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York, have been made honorary AFOSI special agents, the agency announced Friday.

"Following the Dec. 21 attack, the immediate actions of three defenders were nothing short of heroic," OSI posted on its Facebook page. "In a time of chaos, uncertainty, and terror, they immediately ensured the safety of other teammates, cared for the wounded and protected the dignity of our fallen."

Six airmen were killed when a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden motorcycle into a joint patrol with Afghan security forces outside of Bargram Air Field. The fallen airmen were directly responsible for the safety of the other forces on the ground, which included five fellow security forces airmen, five OSI agents and two linguists.

Last month, two of the six airmen killed were honored posthumously with Bronze Stars with Valor. The Air National Guard awarded Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa and Tech Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm, both with the 105th Security Forces Squadron at Stewart ANGB "for saving the lives of other airmen at the cost of their own."

The three OSI agents will receive an official badge and credentials in a formal presentation from Brig. Gen. Keith Givens, commander of AFOSI, and Chief Master Sgt. Christopher J. VanBurger, 15th Air Force Office of Special Investigations Command Chief, in the near future, the agency said.

bonacasa_lemmTwo Defenders Names To Be Added To The NLEO Memorial

A nomination package was submitted by the office of the Director of Security Forces, USAF to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Board recommending the addition of two Air Force Defenders to the memorial. At the 13 May 2016 candlelight vigil Security Forces Defenders TSgt Joseph Lemm’s and SSgt Louis Bonacasa’s names will be read aloud with the names of other Law Enforcement officers who lost their lives during 2015. This ceremony will take place in Judiciary Square during Police Week in Washington, DC.

 nleom"Carved on these walls is the story of America, of a continuing quest to preserve both democracy and decency, and to protect a national treasure that we call the American dream." President George H.W. Bush 


gaylor1CMSAF Gaylor & AFSFA Visits SSgt Nelson

CMSAF #5 and AFSFA member Bob Gaylor visited SSgt Nelson, his wife TSgt (sel) Anna Nelson (both Defenders) and his mom Jeannie on 6 February. His dad Chris told us Bryan plans to be a Chief someday so what better visit could an aspiring NCO have than a CMSAF who was a Defender? Chief Gaylor presented Bryan one of his autographed CMSAF sweatshirts and spent some time visiting. If you have never heard how Chief Gaylor became a cop you'all have to ask ... it is a super story. His mom passed along her gratitude to AFSFA, "... your support means the world to us."  





SSgt Nelson Becomes An Honorary OSI Agent

On 5 January 2016 BGen Keith M. Givens presented OSI credentials to Security Forces SSgt Bryan A. Nelson at the San Antonio Military Medical Center. SSgt  Nelson is the only active duty Defender to ever receive this distinction.





AFSFA Visits Bagram Wounded Defender 

AFSFA had a great visit with SSgt Bryan Nelson and his family on New Years Eve. SSgt Nelson, a member of the 820th Security Forces Group, Moody AFB, GA, was transported to the San Antonio Area Medical Center (SAAMC) burn unit due to burns and injuries suffered during the recent motorcycle bomb attack at Bagram Air Base this last December which killed 4 AFOSI agents and 2 Security Forces Defenders. He received burns to his lower body, back and some to his face with a broken leg and ankle. He is doing very well for his condition. His wife, TSgt (sel) Anastasia Nelson, also a Defender, was at the hospital with his father during the visit. His mother and grandmother arrived as SSgt Nelson’s wife and sister departed. Bryan was born and raised in San Antonio and both he and his wife had upcoming assignments to the Lackland AFB, TX for 2016. The AF is working to accelerate their moves now that they are already in the San Antonio area.

All were very appreciative of the concern and support offered by AFSFA and our Proud Warrior Program. In addition to the $500 Proud Warrior Program grant Lee Chambers of the Eagle Chapter reached out to other chapters including the Oklahoma Heartland and Magwood Chapters to increase the support. Their combined donations produced an additional $300 grant.

AFSFA also provided copies of the last 6 magazines, travel mugs, AFSFA and Fallen Defender coins and an AFSFA tote and get well cards.

AFSFA will continue to provide updates on SSgt Nelson’s recovery.


12 for 12
By Master Sgt. Joshua Strang, Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs / Published December 14, 2015

Members participate in the Fallen Defenders Ruck to Remember on Dec. 12, 2015, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The 12-kilometer ruck march honors security forces defenders who have made the ultimate sacrifice in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Joshua Strang)

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar (AFNS) --  On the 12th day of the 12th month, service members here took action to ensure 12 security forces defenders were honored with a 12-kilometer ruck march.

The Fallen Defenders Ruck to Remember honors security forces members who have made the ultimate sacrifice in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Although the event remembers all of the defenders killed in action, this year’s event focused specifically on two members.

“We are highlighting the sacrifices made by our latest defenders that we have lost,” said Master Sgt. Austin Schneider, the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron training superintendent. “Senior Airman Nathan C. Sartain and Airman 1st Class Kcey E. Ruiz lost their lives on October 2nd this year at Jalalabad Airfield in Afghanistan.”

Sartain and Ruiz were killed when the C-130J Super Hercules they were flying on crashed during takeoff. Both Airmen were deployed from the 66th Security Force Squadron at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts.

The event generated $2,800 and all proceeds will go to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors through the Combined Federal Campaign.

TAPS is a nonprofit organization that offers compassionate care to all those grieving the death of a loved one serving in the armed forces.

Although the event raised money, it was all about remembrance, said Chief Master Sgt. Tamala Hartz, the Air Forces Central Command security forces manager.

“Today’s event is really about remembering those defenders who gave all in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Hartz said. “Any time there is a loss in the defender family it is our responsibility to remember those who can’t go home.” 



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