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Vandenberg defender chooses independence

Airman 1st Class Brandon Morris, a 30th Security Forces Squadron Response Force Member. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Levi Riendeau)

Airman 1st Class Brandon Morris, a 30th Security Forces Squadron Response Force Member. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Levi Riendeau)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airman 1st Class Brandon Morris, a 30th Security Forces Squadron Response Force Member, did not always see himself joining the Air Force.

Morris' path to the Air Force began in his hometown of Orlando where his mother set high expectations for his future.

"She gave me two options: military or college," Morris said.

Morris was a receiver on his high school football team and considered playing football in college, but decided against it in favor of the level of independence the military would provide him.

"I was raised to be independent," said Morris. "When I went to the recruiter it seemed like the Air Force offered me the quickest way to do that."

This Vandenberg defender believes Security Forces is a good fit for him because it satisfies his warrior ethos.

"I want to help in the combat zone," he said. "If I could get deployed tomorrow I would."

Morris arrived at Vandenberg in February following Security Forces technical school at Lackland AFB. He is currently tasked with guarding the launch pads and other restricted areas at Vandenberg; a job that becomes increasingly important on launch days.

"Launches are important for us," Morris said. "On launch days my main job is to make sure the areas surrounding the launch pad are as safe as possible."

But Morris is quick to point out the excitement of launch days are rare in his career field. At the end of the day, if Security Forces has done their job, Morris believes the rest of the base will hardly notice them.

"A quiet day is a good day for a cop," Morris said. "But at the same time, I'm on call 24/7 and I am always expected to be able to perform at my highest level."

It's a very different lifestyle than the one he knew as a civilian but also one Morris says his mother is "very proud of."