Front Range Chapter Carries the Torch for Special Olympics Colorado Summer Classic

By CMSgt (ret) Joseph “Mitch” Mitchell, Front Range Chapter Chairman

No, this wasn’t the first time Security Police or Security Forces ever participated in a Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). And, it was far from a first-time LETR event for Special Olympics Colorado involving members of the U.S. Air Force. But, here’s what made this event unprecedented; August 24, 2019 marked the first-ever Law Enforcement Torch Run sponsored solely – as well as organized, by the Air Force Security Forces Association.

Late last year, AFSFA became an Affiliate with the Law Enforcement Torch Run/Special Olympics International (see article in Jan-Mar 2019 issue). And, it was a very proud occasion when only a short time later the Front Range Chapter was presented with the opportunity to help organize an event with Special Olympics Colorado.

The pride of each one of the torch bearers was visibly evident on their faces – especially after completing their long early morning run. AFSFA Executive Director John Probst was on hand driving a support van and later related: “Air Force Security Forces Association, the professional association for all Air Force Security Forces – Active Duty, Guard and Reserve, is proud to be a partner with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.” And, the performance by our torch running Security Forces set high expectations for future LETR events.

LETR was started by Wichita, Kansas Police Chief Richard LaMunyon in 1981. Today, nearly 110,000 law enforcement members carry the “Flame of Hope” annually. The flame symbolizes courage and celebration of diversity uniting communities around the world. Today the LETR has become the Special Olympics’ largest public awareness and fundraising group for athletes and people with intellectual disabilities.

Several Front Range Security Forces Defenders expressed their own perspectives on being a part of this movement that is making huge improvements in the lives of some amazing people. Brittinie Alvarez from 50th SFS at Schriever AFB, expressed her feelings this way: “From the start, you could see all of the SF runners ready – the first bit was an easy run. Then the gradual incline and it was a bit tougher. We weren’t running for ourselves though, we had a purpose. And when we were joined by the athletes, it was very sweet.” And, it was apparent that the Special Olympians and their families and friends were positively affected by the sharp formation of Security Forces members delivering the “Flame of Hope.”

Susan Foege, Special Olympics Colorado, commented about the torch runners and their impact on the opening ceremonies, “The excitement in the crowd grew as we announced and saw the arrival of the torch and your group. Watching and hearing the group call military cadence as they came towards the cauldron drew a huge round of applause. Then, as the torch was handed off to the athletes, your group filled in to provide them with support and cheer them on.” She went on to express how much our Security Forces torch runners added to the excitement, energy and support to the Summer Classic. From her perspective as Director of Competition, “The torch run and lighting of the cauldron is one of the most spectacular parts of our Opening Ceremonies.”

Another aspect that made this such a special LETR was the level of involvement, cooperation and overall support the event received. Starting with the AFSFA National Headquarters, site host USAF Academy athletic staff, as well as the individual runners and the units they represented – all combined for successful execution of the challenging feat. The AFSFA Front Range Chapter, along with Security Forces members from Peterson AFB, USAF Academy, and Schriever AFB – as well as all the way from Buckley AFB came together to make the first AFSFA sponsored Law Enforcement Torch Run a big success.

But, be assured this is only the beginning of a wonderfully promising partnership between the Law Enforcement Torch Run/Special Olympics International and AFSFA. Special Olympics Colorado has already asked the Front Range Chapter to work with them at their 2020 Summer Classic.

And, when you get the chance to participate in a LETR, or other Special Olympics activities, do not pass up the opportunity. The experience may just make a difference in your life as well.

First Female Airman Graduates Army's Ranger School

Travis AFB, CA -- 30 August 2019

Story by TSgt Liliana Moreno, 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs


U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Chelsey Hibsch made history by becoming the first female in the U.S. Air Force to graduate from the U.S. Army’s Ranger School Aug. 30 at Fort Benning, Georgia.


First Lt. Chelsey Hibsch, 821st Contingency Response Squadron, receives her Ranger tab after graduating from the U.S. Army Ranger School Aug. 30, 2019, at Fort Benning, Georgia. Hibsch became the first Air Force female in history to graduate the two-month course. (U.S. Army photo by John Tongret)


Hibsch is a security forces officer assigned to the 821st Contingency Response Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, California.

Becoming a Ranger is no easy task. The two-month grueling course is designed to train military members on small unit tactics and instill combat leadership skills that empower members to make quick decisions in adverse situations.

“Lt. Hibsch represents the very best of our Air Force and Air Mobility Command – determined, innovative, and capable of breaking barriers,” said Col. Doug Jackson, 621st Contingency Response Wing commander. “Moreover, as evidenced by her completion of this rigorous training, she exhibits steadfast commitment to joint teams and partnerships. The entire 621st Contingency Response Wing is proud of Chelsey and her remarkable accomplishment.”

 Hibsch is no stranger to grueling competitions. Last year alone her Pacific Air Forces security forces team won the Advanced Combat Skills Assessment competition and took home the 2018 Air Force Defender Challenge title.

“These are the key tasks and skills we need to have confidence in as security forces members,” Hibsch said during an interview for the ACSA competition. “You’re going to fall back on the level of your training and this just goes to show how good our squadron’s been about training.”

Her dedication, teamwork and Airmanship pushed her to compete in the Ranger Assessment Course at Camp Bullis, Texas, which ultimately led her to enroll in the U.S. Army Ranger School.

According to the U.S. Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence, there are three distinct phases of Ranger School, called the Benning, Mountain and Swamp, which follow the crawl, walk and run training methodology.

In the Benning phase, students are assessed for physical stamina and mental toughness. It also establishes the tactical fundamentals required to become trained on squad operations and focus on ambush and recon missions, patrol base operations, and planning before moving on to platoon operations.

During Mountain phase, students receive instruction on military mountaineering tasks as well as techniques for employing squads and platoons for continuous combat patrol operation in a mountainous environment. The rugged terrain, severe weather, hunger, mental and physical fatigue and the emotional stress that students encounter afford them the opportunity to gauge their capabilities and limitations as well as those of their Ranger buddies.

Lastly, the Swamp phase continues to develop the students’ ability to lead small units on airborne, air assault, small boat, ship-to-shore, and dismounted combat patrol operations in a low intensity combat environment against opposing forces.

Hibsch is now one of the few elite females in the military who get to wear the coveted Ranger tab.

Capt. Alex Covey, 921st Contingency Response Squadron Defense Force commander, praised Hibsch for successfully completing Ranger School and said she will be a significant and positive addition, not only for the squadron, but for the Wing as a whole.

“The firsthand knowledge and tactical experience she is bringing back to her squadron will improve the way Security Forces develops and executes integrated base defense in support of Air Base Openings and Joint Task Force-Port Opening contingency operations,” Covey said. “I believe that Lt Hibsch’s specific training will bring both 821st and 921st Defenders to new heights as we continue to forward posture to deter and defeat future threats involving Contingency Response Airmen.”

Lt. Col. Christina Lee, 821st Contingency Response Squadron commander recognizes the historical milestone Hibsch has achieved as the first Air Force female to graduate Ranger School.

“This is a big moment for Lt Hibsch and her family,” said Lee. “Graduating Ranger School is an accomplishment that stands on its own. In Chelsey’s case, there’s more to the story that we should be unabashed about celebrating. Her place in history as the first Air Force female to graduate marks a positive culture change. She paves the way for what I know will be many more ahead. Our Squadron slogan is “Lead the Rest.” She lives those words in a way that makes all of us humble and proud. We look forward to having her home and back with her team of Contingency Response Airmen.”

“Hey dude, are you okay?”

FighterLine, 301st Fighter Wing PA, NAS Fort Worth, JRB, TX, April 2019

By Col. Mitchell Hanson, 301 FW/CC

Commander’s Corner

Chief Safley and I visited our security forces squadron at the U.S. Air Force Academy two weeks ago while they were conducting their annual tour training. The facilities were great, the backdrop was amazing and the training they accomplished was super. In two weeks, our SFS was able to complete training that would have taken 18 months to normally complete. They endured long days, austere field conditions, cold temperatures, snow, sleep deprivation, long briefs and debriefs, lots of critiques, and physical stress. Yet I still saw smiles on their faces, determination in their actions and motivation to get better. These are a group of men and women that will be defending our bases, kicking down doors, searching villages, rescuing airmen and will definitely be in harm’s way, we owe them a lot of gratitude.

On the day we visited, three fire teams departed their forward operating base with a plan to travel to an “objective” where they would encounter enemy forces (played by other SFS members). After they had begun this particular operation, their cadre injected a new mission--to rescue two pilots whose helicopter had crashed. I was asked to play one of the downed pilots along with SSgt Villanueva (“V-10”). We were dropped off at a site with the real wreckage of a UH-1 “Huey” helicopter, pretty realistic training in my opinion. As V-10 and I waited for the fire teams to find us, we hunkered down in the wreckage knowing that the enemy forces were also nearby and pretending to be injured. As the friendly fire teams approached, chaos ensued. We were surrounded by small and heavy machine gun fire, small arms fire, and smoke… all accompanied by lots of yelling and screaming. As all of this was going on, over my right shoulder someone starting yelling, “Hey dude, are you okay?” At first I didn’t realize he was yelling at me until the third or fourth time hearing it. When I finally realized it was me he was yelling at, I chuckled to myself at the thought of being called “dude” and answered back, “No, we’re hurt and need assistance.” We were eventually rescued and taken back into friendly territory, which marked the successful conclusion of that day’s exercise.

As I was walking back to the camp, I started thinking about what a great experience it was to be with our SFS and the “Hey dude, are you okay?” security forces member. Granted this was only training, but in a real world situation, he would have done the same thing--risk his life for mine. Not because of who I am or the rank I hold, but because I’m a fellow airmen who was in harm’s way. Think about that for a moment. Someone who doesn’t even know me is willing to risk their life for mine. Two of our core values-- Service before self and Excellence in all we do--could not have been more prevalent in that situation. The way that security forces watch out for one another is imperative to their mission; they must watch each other’s back, 24/7, in all conditions or the results could be catastrophic. This is the mindset that everyone in the 301st Fighter Wing should have--to look out for one another and have each other’s back. When a friend, a family member or a co-worker needs your help, you have to drop everything and render assistance. We are always fighting a battle; whether it’s in public or in private, at home, at work or on the battlefield. Watch each other’s back, take care of your co-worker, keep an eye out for one another and don’t forget to ask….”Hey dude, are you okay?”

Col. H

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Dear Air Police, Security Police, & Security Forces Members:

Due to the continued interest in the Air Force Security Forces history, the Air Force Security Forces Association and M.T.Publishing Company have joined forces to publish a third edition history book in 2021.

This third edition will make a perfect companion book for the first two and will contain additional history about the Air Force Security Forces with a section for your stories while serving, as well as a chapter for your personal biography. If your biography was in one of the other editions and you would like it to be in this one, it will be necessary for you to resubmit it along with two photos if possible - one while in the service and a current photo. You may use the same photos that were in the previous editions.

Air Force Announces the 12 Outstanding Airmen of 2019

By Kat Bailey, AFPC Public Affairs, 23 July 2019

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – Air Force officials have selected the service’s top enlisted members, naming the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2019.

An Air Force selection board at the Air Force’s Personnel Center considered 36 nominees who represented major commands, direct reporting units, field operating agencies and Headquarters Air Force. The board selected the 12 Airmen based on superior leadership, job performance and personal achievements.

Twelve Outstanding Airmen of the Year (alphabetically, by command of assignment when selected):


Master Sgt. Jahara A. Brown, Air Force Materiel Command, 78 SFS

Duty Title: Plans and Programs Superintendent

Organization: 78th Security Forces Squadron, Robins Air Force Base, GA

Home of Record: Atlanta, GA

Master Sergeant Jahara Brown directs 25 military and civilian personnel in developing and maintaining security plans for the protection of $18.7 billion in assets and 24,000 personnel. His expertise in law enforcement and security proved evident in his leadership of 85 personnel during 64 patrol responses that netted 32 criminals. While deployed as a combat arms program manager, he streamlined the movement of 1,500 weapons in 48-hours, aiding the success of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization air-strikes against Syria. A true wingman, Sergeant Brown sustained injuries during a vehicle rollover where he quickly reacted to save the lives of six other Airmen. Finally, Sergeant Brown mentored 420 Airmen during three TED talks cultivating an environment of ownership versus renter-ship.

◾Staff Sgt. Caryn N. Frederick, Air Force Reserve Command

◾Senior Master Sgt. Sylvetris S. Hlongwane, Pacific Air Forces

◾Senior Airman Gary G. Jeffrey III, Air Education and Training Command

◾Senior Master Sgt. Andrew J. Kehl, Air Combat Command

◾Technical Sgt. Inna A. Lvova, Air Force Space Command

◾Senior Master Sgt. Philip B. McAlpin Jr, Air Force Global Strike Command

◾Technical Sgt. Andrew C. Merrylees, Air National Guard

◾Technical Sgt. Kenneth T. O'Brien, Air Force Special Operations Command

◾Senior Airman Misty A. Richmond, U.S. Air Forces in Europe

◾Senior Airman Justin A. Starks, Air Force District of Washington

◾Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Stuebbe, Air Mobility Command

The winners are authorized to wear the Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon with the bronze service star device on the ribbon. They are also authorized to wear the Outstanding Airman of the Year badge for one year from the date of formal presentation.

The airmen will be presented with their OAY ribbons during this year’s AFA Air, Space & Cyber Conference, being held Sept. 16-18, in National Harbor, Md. The airmen will be allowed to wear the OAY badge for a year from the day of the award presentation.

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