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Missing person incident ends happily at JBSA-Randolph visitor center

By Robert Goetz | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | August 09, 2017

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas --

The active-duty members and civilians assigned by the 902nd Security Forces Squadron to the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Visitor Control Center have the daily task of providing or denying access to people seeking entry to the location.

            Their jobs are often routine, but two enlisted members resolved an unusual situation July 27 when they brought a missing person incident to a happy conclusion.

            Using their interpersonal and investigative skills, Tech. Sgt. Christopher Cleveland and Airman 1st Class Hannah Herman reunited a retired Air Force technical sergeant with her daughter less than four hours after the retiree’s daughter filed a missing persons report with the Live Oak Police Department.

            “It was basic initiative and police investigation skills that assisted this woman in getting home to her family,” said John Gutierrez, VCC lead. “They were doing their job, utilizing the tools they had.”

            The retired NCO entered the VCC at about 1:40 p.m. July 27 saying she needed a pass. A senior Airman tried to obtain a visitor’s pass for her, but she was unable to provide a reason why she wanted to enter the location, so she was denied access. When she approached Herman and Cleveland, she was unresponsive when they asked her why she needed base access and left the VCC, heading for the main gate.

            “I was alarmed and anxious because of how awkward she looked and the fact that she didn’t answer my question pertaining to why she needed access to the base,” said Cleveland, a 433rd Civil Engineer Squadron reservist serving as an augmentee for the 902nd SFS.

            Cleveland notified gate guards to direct her back to the visitor control center, but she crossed FM 78 before coming back to the VCC at about 2 p.m.

            “When she came back a second time, A1C Herman and myself began probing and asking more questions,” he said.

            The visitor was able to provide her Social Security number and, using the Defense Biometric Identification System, Herman and Cleveland saw she was a retired service member.

            “If the person is registered in DBIDS, a photo of the person will pop up,” said Herman, VCC lead controller. “Luckily, she was registered and I was able to verify her identity and find her home address as well as a phone number. When I saw her picture pop up on my computer screen and I called her daughter, I felt very calm knowing that this woman would soon be safe at home.”

            Herman called the retiree’s daughter, who said she had filed a missing persons report less than four hours earlier. She also said her mother has dementia. The retired technical sergeant had walked more than 4 miles from her daughter’s home in Live Oak to the VCC.

            “My biggest concern was that the woman was on her own just wandering around,” Herman said. “I was very relieved when I saw her daughter walk into the VCC.”

            Cleveland said he was happy he and Herman were able to help the retired technical sergeant and her daughter.

            “I know if I was in that situation and my mother had been missing for hours, I would have been very concerned and worried,” he said. “Just knowing we were able to help, as opposed to just brushing her away and telling her she had to leave, was a sigh of relief for us. It was satisfying to know we had helped a fellow Airman in need.”