Holiday vigilance: SFS’ gift to Vandenberg

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Rojek
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
While visions of sugar plums dance through the sleeping heads of children on Vandenberg this holiday season, the 30th Security Forces Squadron ensures that peaceful slumber is not disturbed.

Security forces Airmen will remain on duty over the holidays, keeping constant vigil at posts around the base.

"If not for the defenders on the wall, people couldn't enjoy the holidays," said Master Sgt. Michael Fries, the 30th SFS Bravo Flight chief. "The rest of the public can have time with their family and enjoy time off because we're out there taking care of business."

Security forces Airmen of all ranks will be on shift through the holidays, including some who have been in the Air Force less than six months. All of these Airmen, however, know the importance of their mission and why they are on patrol.

"Just because it's the holidays, it doesn't lessen the chances of something happening," said Airman Steven Koster, a 30th SFS patrolman who has been with the squadron for 10 months. "You can't let your guard down."

Here's what a few other Airmen had to say about protecting Team Vandenberg and the base's assets this holiday season:

"We work during the holidays for the same reason we work the other 364 days of the year," said Airman 1st Class William Phillips, a 30th SFS patrolman who has been with the squadron for more than two years. "We make sure everything is protected."

"The bad people don't rest," said Staff Sgt. Ken Rhodes, an Air National Guard augmentee who volunteered for the holiday duty. "They don't care about Christmas."

"To a terrorist, it doesn't matter that it's the holidays," said Airman Dustin Howard, a 30th SFS patrolman who has been with the squadron for a little more than a month. "Anything can happen. Our presence alone, though, is a deterrent."

"We always have people out here at every post," said Senior Airman Justin Marshall, a 30th SFS patrolman who has been with the squadron for four years. "We're like Santa - you may not see us, be we're always there."

While all of these Airmen and many more work during the holidays, they are not forgotten.

"The chaplain and leadership come out and say hi to the Airmen," said Sergeant Fries, who has worked almost every holiday during his 20-year Air Force career. "It can get lonely out here, so it's nice to get that attention."

Other Team V members wanting to thank security forces Airmen for their service during the holidays can do so by dropping off holiday treats to the Vandenberg Emergency Control Center here (located behind the Commissary on Colorado Road). Store-bought, packaged treats are preferred, said Sergeant Fries, because they are easier to transport and keep longer, allowing the treats to be brought out to the Airmen on post around the base. And for some Airmen, an even simpler gift is desired.

"To hear someone say, 'Thank you,' would be enough," said Airman Marshall.

As the menorah is lit, the stockings are stuffed and New Years toasts are made, the residents of Vandenberg should remember they can do so in safety because of the defenders on the wall.