Moody security forces unit brings home Air Force-level recognition

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
The Air Force recognized a Moody security forces squadron for its recent service in Iraq by naming it the Air Force's best medium-sized security forces unit for 2006.

The award is a testament to the difficult and dangerous roles the 824th Security Forces Squadron performed in the past year, said Maj. Thomas Miner, the 824th SFS commander.

"The squadron set up and executed what was later described by the Air Force Times as the most dangerous mission in the Air Force," he said. "Our Airmen took over an Army mission in training Iraqi Police in the heart of Baghdad. The squadron performed with distinction thanks to its amazing diversity and flexibility."

Major Miner said his Airmen were the key to this diversity and flexibility.

"The 824th SFS has 200 people from 12 different career fields," said the commander. "Every one of them is trained to the same high standards to be thinkers from the day they in-process. With this mindset, 'outside-the-box' approaches to any problem are common."

In addition to the wide range of expertise in the squadron, every Airman in the 824th SFS is a 'shooter,' said Major Miner. This means every member is fully qualified in the same battlefield tactics, techniques and procedures as his fellow Airman.

"Every member of the 824th SFS knows their ground combat roles and responsibilities regardless of their job," he said. "The word 'passenger' does not exist when the 824th conducts off base operations--we interpret the word 'passenger' as a liability to the team. Every member of the 824th SFS can shoot, move and communicate as a fighting platform when needed."

It's this type of unique structure and squadron mandate that has created a very special team, said Capt. Ian Dinesen, the 824th SFS operations chief.

"I have yet to see a task that is completed to anything less than above and beyond the standard," Captain Dinesen said. "Our home-station mission is to train, hone our unique combat capabilities and conduct rapid world-wide response to locations requiring the Air Forces' '911' force protection unit. 

"We as a group are afforded opportunities that allow us to do things other security forces units are simply unable to do, such as parachute assault training or focused 'first-in' and aggressive 'outside-the-wire' base defense operations," he added. 

Captain Dinesen is quick to point out squadron leadership feels the award was an 820th Security Forces Group accomplishment, not an individual squadron-level win.

"We just happened to be the sharpest knife on the deployment block at the time," he said. "Our unit stepped up to the plate to move into Baghdad and begin this new role because we were most prepared and best trained when the mission orders came down. The Air Force recognized the special skills possessed within the 820th SFG when we were chosen, not those in our squadron."

While deployed, the 824th SFS performed their down-range mission with distinction, said Chief Master Sgt. Richard Graves, 824th SFS superintendent.

"The proof in the pudding was that we picked up a dedicated Army mission and improved upon it," said the chief. "The provost marshal for the 4th Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division told us we were the best transition team she saw during her two years performing the mission in Iraq."

When the squadron returned from its six-month deployment in December 2006, it immediately began spreading the knowledge it had learned.

"We have briefed our latest mission and its lessons learned to several different major commands, the Squadron Officer College, the Security Forces Executive Council and other combat warriors preparing to deploy to the area of responsibility," said Captain Dinesen.

"The message we shared to them was simple; Air Force ground combat is for real and with proper preparation, outstanding support and constant focus, our Airmen can not only conduct a traditional Army mission, but excel at it in the process," he added.