Senior Airman Zachary Parkman, of the
219th Security Forces Squadron, looks for anything suspicious during
an exercise at a Minot Air Force Base, N.D., missile launch facility
May 20, 2014. Parkman is one of several North Dakota Air National
Guard enlisted members who are doing their annual training while
performing the real-World mission of missile field security, which
allows their active duty counterparts to catch up on other training
and mission requirements. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by SMSgt.
David H. Lipp)
MINOT, N.D. - There is no more important
mission than missile field security in the U.S. Air Force, and the
North Dakota National Guard's 219th Security Forces Squadron is
making an ever-increasing, total force, contribution to that
"Total force" is the U.S. Air Force term used for
integrating Air National Guard, Reserve, and active-duty components
together for military missions being done throughout the World, and
the work being done in the Minot Air Force Base, N.D., missile field
complex is a great example of the total force concept. It is such a
in fact, that work being done there is being
considered as a model to be used at other installations, according
to Lt. Col. Tad Schauer, the 219th SFS commander.
SFS, part of the North Dakota Air National Guard's 119th Wing, is
made up of active guard reserve, or AGR, personnel who are full-time
staff members working jointly with the U.S. Air force active-duty
personnel in the missile fields on a daily basis.
The 219th SFS is
also made up of traditional Air Guard personnel, who train one
weekend per month and 15 days each year in their missile field
security and support jobs. The traditional Guard members sometimes
work more than their 15 days each year, when their civilian schedule
allows, and it is beneficial to the military for them to do so.
The AGRs are tasked with training the traditional Guard members
on a monthly basis as well as doing full-time security work in the
"The security forces personnel in the missile
fields have to undergo their initial security forces training and
then more security training specific to their job, which amounts to
almost twice as much as other security forces jobs," says Schauer.
Training for the 219th SFS members has culminated May
17-31 with "Operation Minute Man," a two-week surge period,
where N.D. Air National Guard members take primary positions
for missile filed security in the entire northern portion of
the missile field complex. This is the second time such a
surge has happened with the 219 SFS in the complex, which
covers many miles of the North Dakota plains near Minot and
includes dozens of missile field alert facilities and
missile launch facilities.
The missile field alert
facilities and missile launch facilities have extensive,
high-tech alarm systems, and security personnel spend time
monitoring and checking the facilities for suspicious
activities and responding to motion-sensing alarms, which
would be triggered by intruders, but which can also be
triggered by animals and even the wind.
The 219th SFS surge allows their
active-duty counterparts to redirect their attention on
other aspects of their jobs, and to give them a chance for
some much needed time off.
"The surge allows our
active-duty Airmen to take a little time off to regroup and
reset their batteries moving into our busy summer season,
which is very much appreciated," said Col. Kevin Cullen, the
91st Missile Wing Security Forces Group commander.
The 219 SFS has been built over the past several years by
recruiting and training non-prior service members as well as
prior service members from both the N.D. Air National Guard
and active-duty ranks.
"We have gotten to the point
where some of the AGRs have been doing missile field
security longer than their active duty counterparts that
they work alongside in the field," says Schauer. "We work
hard at our training, and I trust our traditional Guard
members and AGRs to be professional in their jobs. They rise
to the challenge."
The North Dakota Air National
Guard has been a part of many firsts in the mission of
missile field security, but it is becoming apparent that the
mission is becoming routine for them as they become more and
more blended with their active-duty counterparts through the
total force concept.
"The most important point I can
make is that when I visit the missile fields, you absolutely
cannot tell the difference between the 219th personnel and
the active-duty members, and our special weapons are always
maintained in a safe, secure manner no matter who is out
there," said Cullen.
Since the 2001 terrorist
attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has
mobilized nearly 3,900 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen
in support of the Global War on Terrorism. About 70 percent
of all members serving today have joined since that time.
Currently, nearly about 100 North Dakota Guardsmen are
mobilized for overseas and domestic service, while about
4,000 remain in the state for emergency response and
national defense. For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota,
65 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that's
more than four times the national average.
By U.S. Air National Guard photo by SMSgt. David H. Lipp
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