Boots On the Ground

  • Published
  • By SrA Ryan Kuntze
  • 128ARW PA
Thirty two members of the 128th Air Refueling Wing's Security Forces Squadron departed for Afghanistan in early July. This is the squadron's third deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Once in-country, they will be assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron.

The deploying personnel constitute the single largest deployment 128th SFS has seen in recent years. Adding to their growing feats, the SFS personnel volunteered to deploy; when asked for volunteers, nearly double the number of requested personnel raised their hand. Such commitment is a sign that morale cannot be gauged in a more profound manner than by bearing witness to an enthusiastic team willing to support each other, their community, and their nation. To add understanding of the squadron's willingness, many of the personnel were volunteering for their first deployment and, in doing so, displaying the personal desire to maintain a high standard of excellence.

This deployment to Afghanistan encompasses three missions. The security and protection of mission-critical flight line areas is the primary mission, serving as the focus for attention and manpower. Security Forces personnel are also tasked with the frequent mission of providing mobile security for individual aircraft and the assigned
air crew. As an additional task, members also carry out security escort operations, providing off-base security to personnel required to move beyond the wire while fulfilling their duties.

Support for the deployed members is very generous, with families and the military community providing an essential link to those home experiences that can, at times, seem too distant while overseas. The 128th Family Support Program maintains constant and courteous telephone and email contact with stateside family members. Moreover, Family Support personnel were proactive in giving calling cards to deployed members and providing spouses with a list of volunteers willing to mitigate the stresses of everyday household maintenance.

All deployed Security Forces personnel are expected to return early next year, defining, once again, Wisconsin's role in our mission abroad.