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Security team protects Yellow Ribbon attendees

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Matt Burke
  • 914th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

As a stream of visitors walks across brightly colored carpet in an immense hotel here, a man in a suit directs them to a registration table. He does this for scores of people over a 3-hour period at the start of an Air Force Reserve Yellow Reintegration Program training event.

“Professional, yet courteous,” said Master Sgt. Bryant Hamlor, describing the type of demeanor he and other security team members strive to project at each Yellow Ribbon training weekend.  “We want people to know we’re here and that their loved ones are protected.”

Hamlor works multiple conferences per year in addition to serving as a security forces action officer with the 459th Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. He has provided security at Yellow Ribbon events since 2010.

More than 900 people – reservists and those closest to them -- attended this event Sept. 25-27 in Florida. Yellow Ribbon promotes the well-being of reservists and their families by connecting them with resources before and after deployments.

“The primary purpose of the security detail is to ensure the safety of children in the childcare area,” he said. “We want parents to know that, although the childcare process is unfamiliar, it’s very secure.”

The safety of the participants is of paramount importance to the 8-person security detail at this event and allows the attendees to focus on receiving information from the resource providers there.

“This is my first Yellow Ribbon event, and it’s funny that the first one I attend it’s through a security detail,” said Tech. Sgt. Hector Flores of the 507th Security Forces Squadron at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. “From this perspective I see how important it is that families of military personnel have the opportunity to receive a lot of information that is missed or needed during the deployment process.”

Hamlor, the team leader, traveled to the Orlando location prior to the event to conduct a site survey, and walked areas of concern the day before attendees arrived to get a detailed perspective of the facilities. Wearing suits and ties, the Yellow Ribbon security team members provide a visible presence throughout the event.

Yellow Ribbon attendees wear badges to allow for accountability and identification. To accommodate the massive gathering of visitors, dozens of rooms were reserved for briefings designed to inform attendees on all the services and resources available to them before and after a deployment. The large area of responsibility dictates the size of the security detail. The team in Orlando had two reservists from Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, four from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, and two from Andrews.

Unlike some security forces’ temporary assignments, which may include long hours and a harsh environment, the job at this Yellow Ribbon event was a welcome tasking for the detail, said Senior Airman Colby Crosser, a fire team member with the 932nd Security Forces Squadron at Scott Air Force Base.

“It’s Orlando, Florida,” he said. “That’s been my favorite part. It’s a different style of (duty) that’s new to me, and it’s kinda nice.”

Yellow Ribbon began in 2008 following a congressional mandate for the Department of Defense to assist reservists and National Guard members in maintaining resiliency as they transition between their military and civilian roles. Each year, the Air Force Reserve program trains 7,000 reservists and family members in education benefits, health care, retirement information and more.