News>Dispatch from the Front: Force protection gets things done securely
Airman 1st Class Shequita Sanchez, 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron force protection guard, watches as third country nationals and local Afghan citizens conduct construction work on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Airman Sanchez is deployed from the 375th Medical Operations Squadron at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Sheila Devera)
Senior Airman Brandon Trago, 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron force protection guard, watches over third country nationals and local Afghans as they conduct work on the flight of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Airman Trago is deployed from the 375th Medical Support Squadron at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Sheila Devera)
by Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
3/24/2011 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Everyday several construction projects are conducted here.
Third country nationals and local nationals are employed to help with the construction.
Ensuring that the job is done safe are force protection Airmen from the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron.
"Our job is to make sure that they are doing the job they are told to do and don't go into any restricted areas," said Senior Master Sgt. Barton Randolph, Force Protection superintendent.
Some of the items force protection has confiscated include PDAs, cameras and maps.
"These Airmen are the last line of defense for the flightline," said Sergeant Randolph, deployed from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
"These Airmen have to remain vigilant as they walk around the site," said Master Sgt. Michael Francis, force protection NCO-in-charge, deployed from Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England. "Recently they found a large hole filled with dirt that had sandbags that looked like it could be used as a defense fighting position."
The Airmen were able to identify the potential threat and remove it before something could happen.
To maintain vigilance, the Airmen are regularly rotated to different so they are not able to build a relationship with the workers.
"We are trained to treat everything as a threat even if most people are not," said Sergeant Randolph.
To be in force protection, Airmen go through specified training such as learning how to read badges to see which workers are allowed where and how to drive on the flightline.
An interesting fact about force protection Airmen is that they are composed of several different Air Force specialty codes.
"It's a nice change coming here and getting to experience something other than my job," said Airman 1st Class Shequita Sanchez, force protection guard, deployed from Scott Air Force Base, Ill. "It's also an opportunity to meet other Airmen who I normally wouldn't."
With the help of force protection, recently Afghanistan's first C-130 hangar was completed and opened.
"They really help us, I can't keep my eyes everywhere so they help me get the job done by watching so I can stay on track," said Chris Jukes, 77 Construction Company concrete construction manager. "They also do a great job with helping us keep the areas clean."