Security forces deliver mission at home, abroad despite frequent deployments

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Stephen M. Knab
  • 4th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant
When I initially became a first sergeant, I was sent to a small squadron with relatively few issues. Working there allowed me to learn my trade at a comfortable pace. 

When it came time for me to move to another squadron, I was advised to take on one of the 4th Fighter Wing's more challenging units. Working at the new squadron would allow me to deploy and see different aspects of the job. 

I asked the wing's former command chief if I could have this particular squadron. He asked if it was really what I wanted. I told him I had heard good things about them, and I was ready to embrace the challenge. 

The chief replied, "They are yours." 

That is how I came to be the first sergeant of the 4th Security Forces Squadron.
The Airmen of this squadron are like no other that I have seen in my career. They are not speeding-ticket peddlers or cell-phone police. 

I challenge you to meet one. Strike up a conversation with one and become friends. You will learn they are very busy Airmen. 

You may see them at the wing's Fourth of July picnic, but I can almost guarantee you will not see them at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. This is because they will be deployed down range, fighting the Global War on Terror. 

The majority of this squadron's Airmen deploy every year to many parts of the world. Some are on 365-day deployments. Some are on deployments supporting the Army. They are not always in hard billets, and some are in tents sleeping with the very dogs they train. They spend their time dealing with improvised explosive devices and working outside the wire. 

The men and women of the 4th SFS devote their lives to freedom. Their families deal with the knowledge that their spouses are home now, but leaving again soon. 

These troops may be assigned to the base for several years, but will only spend a few months a year on station. I have been a first sergeant in this squadron for ten months and I am just now meeting some of the troops. They have either been gone or preparing to go. As soon as I get to know them, they depart again. This is the constant cycle of being assigned to deployment bundles instead of working within the Air Expeditionary Force rotation. 

These Airmen are some of the finest I have seen in my 17-year career. I am proud to say I have belonged to a security forces unit. 

I have been in some hectic units. One thing is for sure, I believe this career field is the most stressful in the Air Force, yet they still provide the security that allows the Air Force to put bombs on-target, on-time for America. 

Being a first sergeant, I do not get out enough to say I truly respect what they do. When I retire, one of the many things that will remain with me is the hard work and sacrifices of 4th SFS Airmen.