Defenders: Protectors of the Force

Lt. Col. David Temple official photo

Lt. Col. David Temple official photo

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – My grandfather served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and he was a large reason I joined the Air Force. I did not do it for glory or the accolades, but I wanted to serve my country like he did. With a degree in Criminal Justice, the most sensible choice to me was security forces. As I received my blue beret, the symbol that identifies defenders on all Air Force installations, I realized I did not know as much as I thought about the security forces career field and its history. 

Did you know security forces defenders have not lost an airfield? Throughout our entire existence, whether at war or peace, we have protected and defended the Air Force mission to fly, fight and win and remain victorious (even during the Tet Offensive). We conduct this mission day in and day out across the globe. Believe it or not, most people do not notice us unless we are checking your identification card at an installation control point or pulling you over for driving too fast.

Did you know Defenders protect the United States’ most valuable weapon? Security Forces protect two of the three legs in the nuclear triad. Whether in hot and humid weather or the freezing temperatures in our Northern Tier bases, we watch over and thwart any enemy attempt to do us harm and we remain victorious.  

Did you know Security Forces can deploy and set up a bare base in austere locations? We have squadrons dedicated to train, deploy, adapt and fight at any location, any time. At the same time, when deployed, Defenders don’t sit idle inside the wire. We vigilantly patrol unsecured, and possibly hostile areas around our deployed bases to ensure the safety of those on the air base and we remain victorious.  

Did you know the Air Force, with security forces taking the lead, is responsible for acquiring, training and dispositioning the Department of Defense’s Military Working Dogs? As a commander of the 341st Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, a couple of years ago, I had the honor to lead Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in this mission. With over 1,800 dogs in our force, there is not a drug or explosive we will not find. If you run, our MWD will catch you.

Did you know we put on 30 to 50 pounds of gear every day we come to work? We wear this gear not just for our protection, but to protect our brothers and sisters in arms, our loved ones and to ensure the mission continues without interruption.

 The next time you see a Defender at the gate, patrolling the base or walking through the Exchange, remember, we don’t do this for the accolades. We do this to protect and defend—home or abroad—to ensure the mission succeeds, because no matter the mission, Defenders will not lose.