Airmen see unique perspective on Air Force expeditionary unit

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Royche Ferrell
  • 23d Equipment Maintence Sqaudron

The final day of Emerge Moody was comprised of a tour of the 820th Base Defense Group. This was one day in particular that I was really looking forward to. Until this day I had only a general idea of what the 820th BDG mission was. Upon completion of this day, I would have an entirely new outlook on the organizations capabilities, their personnel and one of a kind mission.


The 820th BDG is the United States Air Force’s exclusive force protection expeditionary unit. Their unique capabilities allow for the deployment of an entire squadrons at once. The base defense squadrons are designed to pick up and deploy as a single self-sustaining unit. This means they need no one but themselves to deploy to the farthest corners of the world at a moment’s notice.


Their ability to deploy in this fashion comes from their diversity. Each BDS is comprised of 12 air force specialty codes or career field, each of whom have specific assignments tailored to support the specific mission’s requirements.


“We’re more than just security forces”, said Col. Kevin Walker, 820th BDG commander.


With each stop we made throughout the day, the words spoken by Col. Walker became more evident. Sharpshooters, emergency medical technicians and even jump qualified independent duty medical technicians are all embedded into the organizational construct.


The level of preparation required to sustain their high deployment tempo was evident after seeing their hands on training regiments. One such example is the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle egress assistance trainer. It’s designed to simulate the conditions they may face in a rollover with a focus on injury and fatality prevention. We got the chance to experience this training first hand; it’s easy to see how disorientation can become a major factor. This experience put in perspective the importance of knowing what to do as well as how to react in order to increase the chances of survival in the event of a roll over.


Another particular capability that I found interesting was the Raven-B unmanned aerial vehicle. The Raven’s easily portable, hand-launched platform benefits our Airmen on the ground by giving them reconnaissance capabilities on a moment’s notice. The Raven’s capabilities extend beyond the battlefield as it has also been used to aid in natural disasters.


Our final stop of the day was air operations. Here we were greeted by Staff Sgt. Colt Crowe, 820th BDG, personnel parachute program management. Crow is one of a select few security forces members across the Air Force who holds the prestigious title of airborne. Attaining this title was no easy feat. Army Airborne school is very demanding and requires trainees to undergo an intense training regimen. His demeanor however spoke nothing of the harsh road he took to complete his training, but more so about the outgoing and personable military professional he was.  His candid dialogue kept us entertained and also affirmed his pride in being part of this proud lineage.   


The final day of Emerge Moody was my personal favorite. I can honestly say that what most impressed me about the 820th BDG are the Airmen who form it. They are simply the best of the best. The level of dedication and professionalism displayed by each and every individual we interacted with was a testament to their proud heritage.