SFS protect Airmen, mission in Bulgaria

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tiffany Deuel
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
He puts together his uniform and gathers his work equipment like all other Airmen. Socks, shirt, pants, boots and blouse. However, he adds a few more garments. Beret, bullet-proof vest and a fully-stocked M-16. He prepares to protect the mission and his fellow Airmen. He is an Airmen of the 48th Security Forces Squadron, and he is the law on the ground.

"Our mission is to protect the aircraft and personnel," said Airman 1st Class Thomas Brockman, 48th SFS patrolman

Airman Brockman isn't alone as he accomplishes his mission. There are eight RAF Lakenheath SFS Airmen at Graf Ignatievo Air Force Base, Bulgaria, working with him to ensure the safety of the Airmen and assets supporting Sentry Gold. Joint-exercise Sentry Gold is about building partnerships with the Bulgarian air force and continuing the Bulgarian air force's integration into NATO.

Protecting the Airmen and aircraft is the primary responsibility of the SFS Airmen here. The 48th SFS performs routine checks to ensure there is no suspicious activity on the flightline.

"We drive around the jets to make sure there are no unauthorized personnel. We do hourly checks of all aircraft and parking areas," said Senior Airman Sean Gallant, 48th SFS patrolman.

Their reaction is based on circumstances.

"It depends on when [the suspicious activity] is seen. If during the day, we would radio it in with ops. At night we would coordinate with the Bulgarian air force to have them call their security to back us up," said Tech. Sgt Gregory Williams, 48th SFS flight chief.

While protection of aircraft and personnel is the mission for the 48th SFS Airmen here, they have also had the opportunity to work with the Bulgarian air force.

"They showed us what interior/exterior security measures they already had in place, and we worked together to establish a game plan in the event a real-world response might be needed," said Sergeant Williams.

"Being deployed here has been a good opportunity to experience Bulgarian culture and work side-by-side with the Bulgarian military," said Airman Brockman.

When 48th SFS Airmen add those three extra items to their daily routine, they're not simply putting on a beret, bullet-proof vest and carrying a loaded weapon. They're also shouldering the responsibility of keeping all personnel safe and secure. Their most important garment of all.