Guarding the gates
By By Staff Sgt. Nestor Cruz, 944th Fighter Wing
/ Published July 08, 2016
KADENA AIR BASE, JAPAN --
Citizen Airmen with Luke’s 944th Security Forces Squadron travelled to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, June 26, to provide extra manning for their active-duty counterparts. The joint mission is part of the reservists’ annual tour, dubbed “Operation Patriot Habu,” and Kadena Airmen are excited to have them here.
“Having the 944 SFS come in and bring seasoned troops really helps us out,” said Staff Sgt. Ian Watson, 18th Security Forces Squadron training instructor. “We’re hurting for manpower during this [PCS] season, when people are moving to other bases, so the fact they came is a huge help.”
Many Airmen with the 944 SFS serve as civilian law enforcement members, which allowed them to seamlessly embed themselves within the flights here.
“We integrated the reservists into our five flights: two day-shift flights, one swing-shift flight, and two mid-shift flights,” Watson said. “When we found out many of them are civilian law enforcement, it was easy incorporating them into our daily training and operations since we know they have their certifications.”
The younger Airmen, relatively new to the Air Force, are excited to learn from their experienced visitors.
“I’m impressed with the level of experience [the Reservists] brought with them and it’s going to be interesting to learn from them,” said Airman 1st Class Trent Jones, 18th SFS unit scheduler. “I want to know what they know and use that knowledge at my current level to get me on my game.”
The excitement of working with new people is shared by the visiting Airmen as well.
“Going off-station for this year’s annual tour is very beneficial to me because I have the opportunity to work with active-duty Airmen, meet new people and do something new,” said Senior Airman Dominique Castillo, 944th SFS member. Between the monthly unit training assembly with the 944th, Castillo serves as a correctional officer back home in Arizona.
With the high level of professionalism both sides bring to the table, non-SFS members are hard-pressed to distinguish between active-duty and Reserve cops patrolling the base or standing watch at the gates.