7/7/2015 – HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. — The 66th Security Forces Squadron here beat out 24 other small SF squadrons throughout the Air Force to earn the distinction as best in the Air Force for 2014, Air Force leaders announced.
In 2012 the squadron won the same award, officially named the Air Force Outstanding Security Forces Unit award in the small category.
“This is one of the best awards that any security forces commander can be a part of,” said Lt. Col. Michael J. Morales, 66 SFS commander. “Not only does it speak to how well you lead people, but it gives well-deserved credit to all the hard work and dedication that members of the squadron put in throughout the entire year at home station and while deployed.”
Hanscom’s “top cop” added that the success is indicative of the high-caliber of individuals throughout the squadron.
“We’ve had a banner year for individual recognition with one Air Force-level, multiple command-level and numerous other individual accomplishments in 2014,” he said. “That success resonates in the squadron and makes us an overall better organization.”
As well as the many home station accomplishments, squadron leadership highlighted in the nomination that more than 35 percent of the squadron deployed during the year.
“Members of this squadron provided critical support throughout the AOR [Area of Responsibility] during each of their deployments through numerous vital security operations,” Morales said.
Locally, Morales said, SFS members secured an aircraft crash site after a private Gulfstream IV aircraft departing Hanscom Field crashed at the end of the runway leaving all seven people onboard dead.
“Hanscom defenders were among the first on scene to help establish a cordon,” the commander said. “We worked hand-in-hand with the State Police, the FBI, Bedford Police Department and the National Transportation Safety Board to make sure they had access to complete an investigation into the crash.”
Additionally, security forces personnel thwarted a breach attempt at the Vandenberg Gate by challenging an unauthorized vehicle that was driven by a suspect in a crime, according to the nomination narrative. The actions of these Airmen ensured civilian authorities could pursue the suspect, leading to a felony arrest.
When asked what it takes to accomplish the distinction of best in the Air Force, the squadron’s senior enlisted member said it starts with Airmen who care.
“The leadership team develops our people through mentoring at all levels in the squadron,” said Chief Master Sgt. Gerald J. Nunes, 66 SFS manager. “We know what they need to do in order to be successful. We know how to develop them in the career field and then we let them thrive.”
Among the examples cited in the write-up is participation by many junior and senior enlisted members in force development programs such as First Term Airman Course and Airman Leadership School, as well as active involvement in private organizations such as the Patriot Enlisted Association, Top Three and others.
The chief said learning of the squadron’s selection as the best small unit was not surprising to him.
“It’s very easy to mentor Airmen who strive to be their best.”
by Mark Wyatt
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
Members of the 66th Security Forces Squadron, led by the Commander Lt. Col. Michael J. Morales, stand in formation July 7 for a group photo on base. The squadron was notified earlier this spring that it was selected as the 2014 Air Force Outstanding Security Forces Unit in the small unit category. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)