10/08/15 – GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. — Whistling winds blowing through acres of cornfields under the night sky paint a remote picture with little to no activity, but that picture can be deceiving from a distance.
Despite its remote location, Grissom is a robust base with security forces and Department of the Air Force civilian police officers who work into the night to ensure the mission continues by providing base security and police services to the 434th Air Refueling Wing.
With over 1,200 acres of land, more than two billion dollars of real property and 16 KC-135R Stratotankers valued at approximately fifty-two million dollars each the 434th Security Forces Squadron plays a vital role protecting Grissom’s resources.
“Just like any police department we work around the clock,” said Nathan Gann, a 434th SFS DAF-C police officer and shift supervisor. “Despite the time of day, it is our responsibility to protect the people, property and resources at Grissom.”
Senior Airman Colin Latham , 434th Security Forces Squadron fire team member, and Derek White, 434th Security Forces Squadron Department of the Air Force civilian police officer, monitor surveillance screens at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind., Sept. 29, 2015. Grissom is one of only five Air Reserve Command bases in the nation, and the 434th SFS staff work around-the-clock to ensure the mission continues by providing base security and police services. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Mota)
That protection starts before role call when 434th SFS civilian and military personnel arm-up and begin preparing for their shift.
“During roll-call everyone is assigned to their stations and all the ‘latest and greatest’ information is passed along,” said Gann. “Information about the most recent security issues and anything about events that occurred during prior shifts is relayed.
“Roll-call also serves as a time for us to ensure we are up-to-date on any required training, or dates for upcoming training,” added Gann.
Both security forces specialists and DAF-C police officers routinely conduct training to maintain their proficiency with weapons they carry.
“Working into the night gives us a little more time to focus on things like training, but with that also comes a unique set of challenges,” said Tech. Sgt. Haime Anderson, 434th SFS security response team leader and shift supervisor. “We do not have sufficient lighting in many areas, so we rely on our night training and equipment to stay vigilant of any potential threats.
“Due to our late hours, we also have to overcome fatigue and ensure we maintain the same level of vigilance as we would during any other shift,” added Anderson.
During each shift, security is broken down into four areas; exterior perimeter, interior perimeter, entry control points and manning of Grissom’s emergency command center.
“One way of reducing fatigue is by rotating work stations and keeping security forces members engaged,” explained Anderson. “Even though Grissom is a reserve base there is quite a bit of work to be done, and that work never ends.”
“Even when the based is closed because of bad weather, we maintain the minimum required force,” added Gann.
Grissom’s ECC is no exception when it comes to around-the-clock operations.
“The ECC is a central dispatch that receives and sends out emergency information to the proper first responders,” said Chris Jance, 434th SFS DAF-C police officer. “We receive information from a variety of sources and ensure first responders receive that information within seconds of receiving it.”
When the radio and phones are quiet ECC personnel also have the responsibility of monitoring Grissom’s video surveillance.
“Our video surveillance allows one person to monitor multiple locations,” explained Jance. “It also lets us monitor any ongoing situations as they develop to ensure [first responders] are provided the most updated information as it transpires.”
With more than 130 buildings, Grissom security forces are also tasked with building security.
“Everyone pulls their weight,” said Gann. “We’ve got a lot of good guys here with backgrounds from multiple law enforcement agencies and every military branch of service.”
That background is a critical part of the job, but more important is the relationship amongst each other, explained Anderson.
“Relationships are critical; understanding each person’s capabilities so we can work together as a team is an important part of the job,” he said.
“We’re kind of like family here,” added Gann. “Sometimes we have our differences but if things get tough there is no doubt in my mind that any of my team would be here to support me without hesitation.”
The 434th SFS is part of the 434th ARW, the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. Airmen and aircraft from the 434th ARW routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission and U.S. strategic objectives.
By Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Mota
434th ARW Public Affairs
Published October 08, 2015
Senior Airman Marshall Berry, 434th Security Forces Squadron fire team member, speaks on his patrol-car radio during a training exercise at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind., Sept. 29, 2015. With over 1,200 acres of land, more than two billion dollars of real property and 16 KC-135’s valued at approximately fifty-two million dollars each the 434th Security Forces Squadron plays a vital role protecting Grissom’s resources. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Mota)
Chris Jance, 434th Security Forces Squadron Department of the Air Force police officer, monitors surveillance cameras during his shift at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind., Sept. 29, 2015. With over 1,200 acres of land, more than two billion dollars of real property and 16 KC-135R Stratotanker’s valued at approximately fifty-two million dollars each, the 434th Security Forces Squadron plays a vital role protecting Grissom’s resources. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Mota)