Ramstein Airman defends deployed base

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael Voss
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
An Airman deployed from the 86th Security Forces Squadron to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, used his training and quick reactions to protect himself and the lives of his fellow servicemembers during a recent insurgent attack.

On the morning of May 19, Airman 1st Class Garrett Zeising assumed his post as a member of the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at Bagram. He performed a scan of the area from his patrol tower and felt a boom.

The sound the 21-year-old heard was an explosion ... the start of many.

"The base was attacked from several positions as small teams of enemy combatants began throwing grenades and rocket-propelled grenades toward the perimeter," said Lt. Col. James Lowe, 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron commander.

Airman Zeising grabbed his radio and began scanning the area again.

"When I heard the explosion, it was a small one and I thought, indirect fire attack," the Logan, Iowa, native said.

As he surveilled the area, he noticed two individuals walking along the perimeter in Army uniforms. Then one of the two raised a rifle and began firing in the Airman's direction. Airman Zeising engaged them and noticed two more individuals in the distance.

"Once I started engaging, they moved to a covered position out of sight. I grabbed my radio and tried to call in for help," said the security forces member, who has been in the Air Force less than two years. "They reappeared and began shooting randomly and throwing grenades."

Airman Zeising held the area and neutralized two of the enemy combatants until other security forces units arrived to help subdue the other combatants.

Airman Zeising later learned the camp was under attack from all sides during the time he was defending his own position.

"They engaged our towers, trying to pin our Airmen down while other individuals tried to come over the base barriers," Colonel Lowe said. "The attack began with indirect fire which caused no significant damage."

In the end, the joint-defense effort eliminated more than 16 enemy combatants with minimal injuries to U.S. forces.

"My defenders served nobly and valiantly," said Colonel Lowe. "They leapt into the fray and fought with vigor and courage."

Once word of Airman Zeising's actions returned to his home unit, everyone was impressed by his actions, but in no way shocked.

"We are not surprised. He is a motivated and high quality security forces professional, currently led by one of our finest squad leaders Tech. Sgt. Kendrick Lucas," said Lt. Col. Seth Frank, 86th SFS commander. "We are pleased and proud of the performance of Airman Zeising along with his entire team, and we are definitely looking forward to their return home."

(Information for this article was contributed by Staff Sgt. Richard Williams, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs)