435 SFS Earn Air Force's 2020 Small Outstanding Unit Award

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Caleb S. Kimmell
  • 435 Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

In April 2021, the 435 Security Forces Squadron won the 2020 Air Force Small Unit Award, an Air Force level award given to the squadron who have proven themselves to be the most dedicated and hardest working Airmen that the Air Force has to offer.

“I am an instructor at the 435th SFS,” said Staff Sergeant Kaitlyn Page. “My role is to become a subject matter expert on all the courses I am responsible for prep classes and teach sustainment training to defenders that deploy.”

From leading major command training centers to directing massive exercises, the 435th SFS is able to manage a wide variety of tasks.

Over the course of one year, they managed 34 courses with 38 cadre and prepared 418 deployed Airmen. They directed exercises such as FROZEN DEFENDER, coordinated 16 member international wing inspection teams, and evaluated four wing joint mission essential tasks.

“The Creek Defender Ground Combat Readiness Training Center was the first in the Air Force to resume training during the pandemic,” said Chief Master Sergeant Roelma Wood, 435 Security Forces. “Ensuring our USAFE defenders are trained and ready to execute their mission in any environment. Additionally, the recent Wing UEI demonstrated our airmen’s commitment to continual process improvement, integrity, and excellence. The squadron’s recognition as a wing strength was a capstone to a year of outstanding performance."

The squadron directed 24-hr operations, achieved 59 critical training objectives, educated three contingency response squadrons for two partner nations and evaluated nine joint mission essential tasks.

“A specific example that amazes me is how in a pandemic there’s a vast majority of rules we all now have to follow,” said Page. “In the COVID-19 pandemic we still were able to put on multiple courses throughout the year and ensure students followed the rules and got the some of the best training. We are extremely proud to see all the hard work we put in get rewarded.”

The 435th SFS is home to U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa’s first three SFS small-unmanned aerial system pilots who graduated a 40 hour course and certified in four aircraft, performing 48 sorties. They created "Open The Base" Command, Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities for three Combatant Commands.

“This award is for the Small Outstanding Unit,” said Page. “Our unit achieved it by supporting contingency operations around the world. We provide essential Security Forces enterprise training and MAJCOM directed training to defenders deploying in support of three COCOMs. I’d say it’s very hard because there are multiple hardworking small unit awards all over the USAF.”

The squadron drove contingency response readiness training, led 65 Airmen, 15 teams, met 320 requirements for the command’s alert force - USAFE's air base force protection cape postured to execute mission success.

“I’d say the 435th SFS’s future goals are to improve Readiness and continuously improving the training we provide to help prepare defenders for deployments and home station,” said Page. “My personal goals are to just improve my instructing capabilities and be able to impact more students that come through. I’d like to see our unit win again, our mission is different and everyone plays a hardworking role and I don’t think it should go unseen.”

"I am very proud of my team, they work extremely hard every day", said Wood. "I am thankful for the opportunity to lead an amazing team of professionals!"