RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
The 12th Security Forces Squadron took home top honors at the Air Education and Training Command level recently as it earned the Outstanding Active Duty Security Forces Medium Unit award.
With 146 members, the unit does everything from law enforcement and security operations to combat arms training and administration work, such as security clearance processing and incident report processing.
"We demand a lot from our people and they deliver every time," said Maj. Christopher Bromen, 12th Security Forces Squadron commander. "It's reassuring to see our leaders formally recognize that with this award.
"What feels great about this is that every person in the 12th SFS contributed," he said.
In addition to its Randolph mission, the unit also supports deployment operations around the world. Last year, 65 of its 122 deployable Airmen served on rotations overseas in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom to such places as Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. In addition, two Airmen supported counter-narcotics operations in Colombia and Curacao.
"Without a doubt this is our number one accomplishment, putting security forces downrange to support the Global War on Terrorism," said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Bilicki, 12th SFS security forces manager. "All security forces units around the globe are doing more with less and trying to balance their in-garrison force protection mission with deployment operations in support of the GWOT.
"It's a tough time to be a cop right now," he said. "But in light of that, this group of people understands the strains on the career field and the importance of getting the mission done."
Among other expeditionary accomplishments, members of the 12th SFS were recognized for aiding in the capture of two Taliban suicide bombers, securing Air Force One during the first presidential visit to Afghanistan along with the First Lady and Secretary of State, and filling the first-ever kennel master position at Balad Air Base, Iraq, leading 81 military working dog teams in 30 austere locations.
Members also conducted 36 intelligence missions traveling into villages with Air Force Office of Special Investigations and explosive ordnance teams, where they located and destroyed thousands of munitions.
Stateside, the unit was also hard at work providing force protection for a variety of distinguished visitors and high ranking military leaders including the U.S. President, Secretary of the Air Force, Air Force Chief of Staff, Central Command commander, U.S. Marine Corps commandant and the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.
Unit members were lauded for their quick response in evacuating and sheltering more than 7,000 July 4th celebration participants on the base flight line after a severe storm.
In regards to integrated base defense initiatives, the 12th SFS raised the bar as the Air Force test location for the $700,000 Smart Gate and $1.6 million ground-based radar concepts, making the base a harder target and enhancing force protection, said the chief.
Its combat arms section trained more than 1,450 troops on small arms requirements, preparing them for base defense in the GWOT. The training section was also instrumental in educating more than 300 Randolph Airmen in combat skills during the base Warrior Deployment Training course.
The unit's investigations section reviewed more than 80 cases, achieving a 98 percent solve rate and recovering more than $118,000. In an effort to keep the base drug free, 12th SFS members seized more than 10 grams if marijuana, 21 tablets of oxicontin and two grams of heroin.
Investigators also solved a gym theft ring where more than $2,500 was stolen in cash and property. After 260 hours of investigation, the team caught the three dependents who gave full confessions.
In the quality of life aspect, the unit obtained more than $120,000 to make upgrades to its main facility and install a search area sun shade at the south gate.
"I am very proud of the men and women of this organization on their accomplishment," Chief Bilicki said. "This is an outstanding group of people: active duty, reserve and civilians, all coming together to provide the best law enforcement, security and force protection services to the Randolph community.
"They know they're working extremely long hours, often doing a thankless job, and yet they're highly motivated and always up for the next challenge. It's a testament to their efforts that the unit is so successful."
Col. James Sohan, 12th Mission Support Group commander, echoed the chief's positive insight on the unit and its accomplishment.
"I think the 12th SFS has one of the toughest challenges in AETC," he said. "In addition to their full time jobs of base security, force protection and law enforcement, they must support Headquarters AETC, two major tenants (Air Force Personnel Center and Air Force Recruiting Service) and 30 smaller tenants, all while deploying personnel to support the global war on terrorism. You've got to be the best to meet those challenges."