Turkish, American Airmen partner to maintain base security

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman William A. O'Brien
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Despite a different uniform, different training and even a different language, the Turkish security forces members of the 10th Tanker Base Command's security battalion and the 39th Security Forces Squadron Airmen still maintain the same goal of base security.

"It's a little different here because we work jointly with the Turkish security battalion. Anything we do as far as law enforcement, we're together with our Turkish partners," said Staff Sgt. Joshua Bjork, 39th SFS patrolman. "I enjoy doing joint patrols. The Turkish air force personnel are very friendly and are willing to learn English if they don't already know it and the ones who do know it are very friendly and like to talk and they're very professional and efficient patrolmen."

Many U.S. Air Force patrolmen deployed here for only six months. Being able to apply their Turkish counterparts' knowledge of the base as a resource, they are able to find places on base more easily.

"One of the best things about teaming up is their knowledge of the area and culture," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Allen, 39th SFS patrolman. "Today we had a funds escort and I wasn't sure where the building was, but because of my partner's knowledge of the base, he was able to direct me to the location.

"In other situations we've had to do building checks and some of the building numbers are out of order and it can be frustrating trying to find a building on base," said Allen, "but as long as he knows where we need to go, he can get us there. Being able to do that can expedite our response times."

In the event of an incident, regardless of the nationality of the suspect, the first person who approaches the scene must be a Turkish Airman because Incirlik Air Base is a Turkish installation. In the event of an incident, patrol teams are able to communicate with those involved whether they speak Turkish or English -- another advantage to having joint patrols.

"Back home we have to follow state law," said Allen. "Then coming here, we have to follow Turkish law. People think this is an American base, it's not, it's Turkish. So no matter what incident we run into on base, it is the (Turkish air force) patrolman's responsibility to make initial contact. Then if they're American, I can take it from there."

Partnering together in joint patrols, the teams maintain base security by performing routine traffic stops, securing buildings, performing random anti-terrorism measures and responding to any other situations that arise. Running joint patrols is one of the many aspects that makes the mission at Incirlik AB unique.