Everybody calls them "the cops." They even refer
to themselves that way. But as a redesignation of the career field—from
"air police" to "security police"—recognized years ago,
the job goes far beyond directing traffic and keeping the peace on base.
Air Force Security Policemen (SPs) are the base's first line
of defense against terrorists and saboteurs, its guardians of nuclear weapons,
and much more. In a salute to security police professionals everywhere, AFA
this year is honoring five of their finest as the 1989 Team of the Year.
The career field incorporates two main specialties, security
and law enforcement. Security specialists provide defense for such resources as
aircraft, missiles, nuclear weapons, and elements of the command and control
system. They are trained and equipped to defend an air base against commando
raids and attack by enemy ground forces.
Law-enforcement functions include maintaining law and
order, patrolling the base, working with guard dogs, regulating entry to the
base, enforcing traffic laws, administering confinement and corrections,
improving crime prevention, and performing various other police services.
Law-enforcement specialists are also trained in air base ground defense
Approximately 38,000 enlisted personnel serve in Security
Police assignments. Here are five of them:
• TSgt. James R. Bingham of Hq. Air Force Space Command (AFSPACECOM),
Peterson AFB, Colo., is a security supervisor. By putting the right resources
in the right places at the right time, he ensured that manpower cuts had a
minimum effect on AFSPACECOM security. He created a database that helps manage
officer and senior NCO assignments for the command's SPs and developed a computer
spreadsheet program to track unit strengths and manpower trends early.
Sergeant Bingham also takes the initiative to work on
additional projects. As the project officer for a short-notice System
Acquisition Management Inspection of security sensor systems, he quickly gathered
and organized the necessary information. The inspectors were impressed.
Sergeant Bingham was the 1987 USAF Security Police NCO of
the Year in the security specialty. He earned his bachelor's degree from
Southwest Texas State University and two associate degrees from the Community
College of the Air Force.
• A1C Linda K. Dean of the 142d Security Police Flight
(ANG), Portland International Airport, Ore., is a law-enforcement specialist
and base-entry controller. She is a Top Gun award recipient and a fully
qualified ambulance paramedic. During a simulated terrorist threat scenario for
the 1987 TAC Operational Readiness Inspection, her vigilance at the main gate
stopped several intruders.
When forest fires blazed through southern Oregon last fall,
firefighters relied on Airman Dean's levelheadedness. She expertly controlled
the flood of vehicle and firefighter traffic and helped maintain security for
personnel and equipment.
Airman Dean was also on a ten-person security team that
supplied round-the-clock protection for more than 4,000 delegates and visitors
at the 1988 National Guard Association conference.
In civilian life, Airman Dean is a police officer with the
Washington County Sheriff's Department. She is pursuing an associate degree in
criminal justice from Portland Community College.
• TSgt. Ronald G. Kessinger of the 142d Security Police
Flight (ANG), Portland International Airport, Ore., is a security controller.
As the assistant Air Base Ground Defense (ABGD) coordinator, Sergeant
Kessinger aided in training a thirteen-person deployment team for ABGD at
McChord AFB, Wash. He helped to develop a top-notch compass course, commanded
the aggressor force during a three-day practice exercise, and shared in the
responsibility for deploying the group.
Sergeant Kessinger volunteered to serve as the
weight-control and physical-fitness monitor for the unit. He was selected as
the 1987 Reserve Component Outstanding Security Police Airman in the security
specialty. He maintains a 3.4 grade-point average at Oregon State University,
and he will graduate with a bachelor's degree in business administration this
• SSgt. Randall E. McCormick of the 842d Security Police
Group (SAC), Grand Forks AFB, N. D., is a security specialist who serves as a
missile security systems trainer and ABGD instructor. During his first days at
Grand Forks, he earned a position on the 1988 Missile Combat Competition Team.
He later became fire-team leader for the 1988 SAC Peacekeeper Challenge Team.
In this annual competition, Sergeant McCormick performed exceptionally well in
the obstacle course and combat rifle events. He was the trainer of the 842d
Security Police Group contingent for the 1989 Missile Combat Competition.
A certified emergency medical technician, Sergeant McCormick
serves as the leader for the Base Emergency Services Team. This Tae Kwon Do
blue belt and certified parachutist is the recipient of the 1987 Air Force
Outstanding Security Police First Term Airman Security Specialist Award. He
is working toward an associate degree in criminal justice from the Community
College of the Air Force.
• TSgt. Russell S. Rickert of the 4th Security Police
Squadron (TAC), Seymour Johnson AFB, N. C., is a law-enforcement flight chief
with a long list of academic and professional honors. He is a three-time recipient
of the TAC Certificate of Distinguished Scholastic Achievement. He was a 1985
Distinguished Honor Graduate from the Army's Military Police Investigative
Course and the 1986 John Levitow Honor Graduate from NCO Leadership School. He
was selected as the 1987 USAF Outstanding NCO of the Year. He participated in
several Peacekeeper Challenge competitions and received awards for his
tactics, combat rifle work, and crime-scene investigation.
In 1988, Seymour Johnson AFB slashed its crime rate by ten
percent. Sergeant Rickert was credited with forty-three percent of the identifications
in the cases resolved.
A certified student pilot, Sergeant Rickert is active with
the Civil Air Patrol. He received an associate degree in criminal justice from
the Community College of the Air Force.
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