Adapt and overcome! Airmen in Africa modify guard towers Published Feb. 12, 2022 By Tech. Sgt. Stephanie Longoria 435th Air Expeditionary Wing NIGERIEN AIR BASE 201, AGADEZ, Niger -- Security Forces Airmen from the 409th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron recently modernized guard towers at Nigerien Air Base 201, Agadez, Niger. Based on feedback from previous deployment rotations, four Defenders found a way to create a better firing platforms, increase field of view and provide a more comfortable work environment for security forces Airmen. “When we got here two months ago, the last rotation complained about the towers,” said Tech. Sgt. Tyler Carlson, 409th ESFS programs and plans NCO in-charge. “We wanted to make the towers better, so we looked at the configuration of the towers and started brainstorming ideas.” The guard tower firing port shields, while operational, were not optimal for security forces weapons systems. Moreover, the towers’ lacked air conditioning amplifying the African heat and putting Defenders at risk for heat injuries. “The towers were not being utilized on really hot days due to weather conditions and poor visibility,” said Master Sgt. Nicholas Pellegra, 409th ESFS operations superintendent. “The towers are an integral part to securing the base perimeter…they provide an elevated fortified vantage point to deter and engage any threats at a distance.” The team of innovators used plasma cutters to expand the firing port and replaced the shields on all the guard towers. “We started by removing the firing port shield but realized that the opening was too big,” said Carlson. “We then tested what size of opening would work best for all our weapons systems.” With local temperatures that can reach up to 110 fahrenheit, they also installed electricity and air conditioning units to protect Airmen from heat injuries as well as improve comfort. “We worked with the civil engineers flight, HVAC got us air conditioning units for the towers,” said Carlson. “Structures gave us the materials to build the stand for the A/C units and electrical engineers have worked hard on figuring out how to get the towers powered.” Due to funding, air transportation and logistical challenges inherent to operations in Africa, not all towers were equipped with climate control air conditioning units, but the team remains committed to seeing every tower upgraded. “We will continue to make little improvements to the towers to ensure all concerns have solutions,” said Carlson. “We want to make the things we have on this deployment better.” Modernizing the guard towers is only one of many projects the Defenders have undertaken to increase base defense, take care of Airmen, and accelerate change with a little ingenuity. “The team has been doing a tremendous job with all security upgrades for the base, the towers being the number one priority,” said Pellegra. “All of Air Base 201 will benefit from the improvements. Our Defenders and mission partners will have a climate controlled work environment and a better security posture for all personnel.” Through their “find a way” attitude, Tech. Sgt. Tyler Carlson, Tech. Sgt. Reid Ericson, Staff Sgt. Luke Gorst and Master Sgt. Nicholas Pellegra demonstrated how adaptable team leaders and innovative problem solvers can overcome obstacles while deployed to the unforgiving environment of Africa.