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Adapt and overcome; 30th SFS protects VAFB amidst COVID-19

Photo of Airman checking ID at the gate

Airman 1st Class Caleb Craig, 30th Security Forces Squadron defender, enforces proper health protection measures as he scans an ID card while working at the installation main gate, March 25, 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. With the recent change to Health Protection Condition C, defenders at the gates are no longer physically handling forms of identification from members as they come through the Vandenberg AFB gates. The Airmen guarding the gates will inform approaching personnel to show the front of their ID, where the defender will verify the photo and then ask them to turn it over to be scanned with the Defense Biometric Identification System. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Peterson)

Photo of Airman and customer at visitor center

Senior Airman Kayla Davis, 30th Security Force Squadron Visitor Control Center technician, processes a temporary pass for a mission essential contractor, March 26, 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. To help decrease the spread of COVID-19 and maintain mission readiness, access to Vandenberg is limited to mission essential personnel and members accessing mission essential services. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Peterson)

Photo of security forces training session

A 30th Security Forces Squadron member observes a Just-in-Time Training session for 30th SFS augmentees, March 26, 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. To ensure there is enough manpower available to safeguard Vandenberg AFB assets and personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 30th SFS has recruited augmentees from other units across base and implemented an additional training. The Just-in-Time Training allows the 30th SFS to provide the non-mission essential personnel with three days of training to teach them the mandatory necessities of defending the installation and utilize them during a crisis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Peterson)

Photo of security forces training session

30th Security Forces Squadron members observe a Just-in-Time Training session for 30th SFS augmentees, March 26, 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. To ensure there is enough manpower available to safeguard Vandenberg AFB assets and personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 30th SFS has recruited augmentees from other units across base and implemented an additional training. The Just-in-Time Training allows the 30th SFS to provide the non-mission essential personnel with three days of training to teach them the mandatory necessities of defending the installation and utilize them during a crisis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Peterson)

Photo of security forces training session

A 30th Security Forces Squadron member observes a Just-in-Time Training session for 30th SFS augmentees, March 26, 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. To ensure there is enough manpower available to safeguard Vandenberg AFB assets and personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 30th SFS has recruited augmentees from other units across base and implemented an additional training. The Just-in-Time Training allows the 30th SFS to provide the non-mission essential personnel with three days of training to teach them the mandatory necessities of defending the installation and utilize them during a crisis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

As a means to help “flatten the curve” and stop the spread of COVID-19, the 30th Security Forces Squadron has increased their security procedures in accordance with the base health protection measures to keep, not only themselves, but the members of Vandenberg Air Force Base, safe during the pandemic.  

The members of the 30th SFS, as well as other base personnel, are following health preventive measures and are continuing training to maintain mission readiness.

“In regards to COVID-19, the biggest threat to members of the 30th Security Forces Squadron, is the potential to come in contact with the virus when working at the gates,” said Maj. Keil Luber, 30th SFS director of operations. “In order to decrease risk and exposure, we have implemented preventative measures to keep Airmen and members entering the installation safe, while helping flatten the curve.”

With the recent change to Health Protection Condition C, defenders are no longer physically handling forms of identification from members as they come through the gate. The Airmen guarding the gates will inform approaching personnel to show the front of their ID, where the defender will verify the photo and then ask them to turn it over to be scanned with the Defense Biometric Identification System.  

Also, due to the recent direction given by the base commander, it has been stressed that only mission essential personnel, or members attempting to access mission essential services such as the Commissary, should be entering base. This action was set in place to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 and to maintain mission readiness.

To ensure there is enough manpower available to safeguard Vandenberg AFB assets and personnel during the pandemic, the 30th SFS has recruited augmentees from other units across base and implemented an additional training.

“With the current events, our squadron was looking for more defenders to assist with base security, so we initiated our Just-in-Time Training,” said Master Sgt. Cheryl Penrod, 30th SFS noncommissioned officer in charge of training. “This training allows the Security Forces Squadron to recruit non-mission essential personnel and give them three days of training to teach them the mandatory necessities of defending the installation and utilize them during a crisis.”

After completing the required training, the augmentees will stand in as needed and complete day-to-day operations with the rest of the 30th SFS members. Currently there are approximately 80 augmentees who have completed the Just-in-Time Training.

According to Penrod, the Airmen are motivated and eager to help where they are needed during this time.

“I am proud of my team’s response and readiness with the recent events. They have been assuring readiness, mitigating the spread of the virus within the unit, as well as protecting the rest of population while maintaining the safety of the base,” said Lt. Col. Josh Nelson, 30th Security Forces commander.

Members of the 30th SFS will continue training augmentees to ensure mission readiness while safeguarding their health, as well as those they encounter, while defending the base.

“Throughout these crazy few weeks, everyone in the squadron has been stepping up without hesitation, and on top of that, I’ve seen support from everyone on the base,” said Luber. “It’s really comforting to see everyone pulling together to do their part.”