52nd SFS Airmen keep up ops tempo long after sundown

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Amaani Lyle
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Calm is likely a welcome relief for the wing’s twilight guardians -- the 52nd Security Forces Squadron members who work every other weekend and are well acquainted with 12-hour-plus graveyard shifts.

The responsibility to protect people and aircraft, arguably the Air Force’s two greatest assets, can be even trickier on night patrol, when inclement weather, limited visibility and higher incident rates become factors.

“This is a non-stop operation,” said Master Sgt. Clay Christiansen, 52nd SFS on-duty flight chief. “Around the clock, we have security forces members in vehicles and on foot patrolling the base’s perimeter, hardened aircraft shelters, and housing and dormitory units.”

Perhaps the ‘pulse’ of the squadron is the highly secured law enforcement desk, where even Sergeant Christiansen, upon knocking, must officially announce himself to the troops behind the heavy steel door.

“This is basically our own command post,” said Senior Airman Tony Beitzel, 52nd SFS LE desk controller. “We get phone calls that can be about anything from noise complaints to domestic violence complaints to drunk driving citations.”

Sergeant Christiansen added that even the most routine situation can quickly escalate, so the 52nd SFS members’ adherence to professionalism and procedure is critical.

“We train our people to practice situational awareness through frequent exercise scenarios, rules of engagement refreshers and familiarity with dozens of quality review checklists,” Sergeant Christiansen said.

“We need to know how to quickly reference operating instructions and also how to prioritize and respond to the numerous situations that may not be outlined,” said Airman 1st Class Brett Poe, 52nd SFS controller-in-training.

Airman Poe is one of only eight 52nd SFS troops to undergo the rigorous training and battery of oral and written tests required to qualify for the specialized duty of LE desk operator.