SFS: Building bonds within and beyond

Group of Security Forces Airmen during Guardmount

Members of the 39th Security Forces Squadron, Contingency Operations, take part in their daily Guardmount at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Dec. 29, 2017. During Guardmount the flight chief will brief the Defenders on anything going on in the squadron and getting them ready for their day. (U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kimberly Nagle)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --

Every day, two times a day, members of the contingency side of the 39th Security Forces Squadron come together for Guardmount before the start of each shift.

This time together gives the Flight Chiefs a chance to inform the roughly 75 Security Forces Airmen of any items that are needed to be disseminated. This is also where the Airmen will learn where they will post at one of the more than 50 security posts around Incirlik Air Base.

During their time at Incirlik, SFS members will work with their Turkish Air Force counterparts ensuring the security of the base, all the way up to the strategic level.

“The security we provide is an addition to the Turkish Security Battalion’s capabilities,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Alexander Parsons, 39th SFS contingency operations officer. “The Turkish Security Battalion is responsible for the overall security of the installation at Incirlik but we complement and bolster their forces to ensure there is a strong defense posture to defeat any threat.”

Meetings between the Turkish and Security Forces leadership teams happen at least once a week to ensure there is constant communication and that they are in lock step to complete the security mission.

“During the meetings, issues concerning security are ironed out as well as topics to improve our security posture in the future,” said Parsons. “We leave that meeting on the same page by working jointly together to keep Incirlik Air Base’s assets and personnel secure.”

After those meetings, leadership pass on the applicable information to their Flight Chiefs. Information is then passed down during the daily Guardmounts. The Flight Chiefs can get that important information to the individuals on their flight and to improve Turkish and U.S. security relations while they are posted together jointly for more than twelve hours a shift.

Flight Chiefs also have time set aside to meet with their TurAF counterparts. They will also do post checks together, ensuring each post is meeting safety and security measures for both sides as well as checking on the health, morale, and welfare of the troops.

“We are on the front line, we see everything that is going on,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Quentin Gray, 39th SFS Flight Chief. “We will assess situations, hear both sides of the story and handle the situation jointly with our TurAF counterparts.”

This current group of Airmen, have only been on the Air Base a little over three months, around half of their deployment. During this time they have strengthened their bond between not only themselves as a squadron, but with their TurAF counterparts as well.

“We have found other avenues to bring the Airmen together,” said Gray. “By having just a little bit of fun, such as changing names or morale chants, it instills a sense of pride in the Airmen and the mission they complete here. We want to get them more involved.”

This has brought the Airmen who, just three months ago probably only knew a handful of people, closer together.

“Our Airmen are very invested in what they are doing here at Incirlik. They seem to make the best out of it by getting involved in squadron and wing events as well as extra activities together,” said Parsons. “The Defenders come to post every day and do a great job while doing it. They have engrained themselves in the wing’s priorities and have truly made an impact on the surety and contingency security mission sets.”

The members of the Security Forces Squadron hope to continue their growing relationship within their unit, and with their TurAF counterparts throughout the duration of their time here.