FARNBOROUGH, United Kingdom – Ten U.S. security forces members from RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall provided overhead security of U.S. Department of Defense assets participating in the 2010 Farnborough International Air Show as of July 26.
According to Air Force Master Sgt. Arbra Anthony, security team leader at Farnborough, the security forces members quickly got to know each other to form a tight knit team.
"We are here for the same purpose," said Anthony, who is the flight chief of the 48th Security Forces Squadron at RAF Lakenheath. "You just come together as one, and that's what we did."
According to Air Force Airman 1st Class Eures Taylor, also with the 48th SFS, having the U.S. aircraft at Farnborough is an excellent opportunity to form a positive impression by giving others a glimpse of our aircraft, aviation technology and military capabilities.
"People want to see us here," said Taylor. "They love us for some reason."
The security team provides 24-hour surveillance of the various U.S. military aircraft with
“American eyes on U.S. aircraft at all times,” as Air Force Airman 1st Class Brian Walters, also a member of the 48th SFS commented.
Accomplishing this constant watch required a separate day and night shift, which, with the event being over a week long, affects the members’ sleep schedules having to alternate back and forth in such a short time frame.
"Adjust and overcome," said Walters. "It's our squadron motto."
"It's hard switching, but we look out for each other," said Taylor. "That's work, you know. We come out here and do our job and do it to the best of our ability. We don't mind taking one for the team. It’s natural. That's what cops do- we’re a family."
However, the mission here at the Farnborough International Air Show differs from the role security forces members have back at home station. Here, the team members serve as a physical deterrent, responsible for manning the entry control points and reporting any problems to British police, who are the responsible authority for this area.
Security Forces works hand-in-hand with the over 70 U.S. personnel participating in this global iconic aviation event.
"The pilots come directly to us if they see something suspicious," said Anthony. "We come over, take control of the situation or escort them out. If it's something hostile, we notify the Hampshire constables and they come out with armed force."
"You have to check that people are authorized to be around the aircraft- that spectators aren't messing with the fence-line or taking pictures of things they shouldn't be and that everyone is with their escorts. We’ve worked every day since arriving here on the 11th to have eyes-on our aircraft at all times," said Taylor.
According to Anthony, the show is a good experience for the team members. Some of them have only worked staff support jobs, armory details or flightline patrols. Here, they walk the line daily and are afforded the opportunity to engage with the public.
"I feel the air show is beneficial not only to the U.S. but also to our squadron," said Walters. “Next time something liek this comes around, people might remember how efficient we were at our job. It gives an opportunity to our younger Airmen, like myself, to experience the same great things I'm experiencing.”
"Security is the backbone of the Air Force," continues Walters. "We are providing top flight security. With security, we make it all possible."
The security team facilitates the ability to allow more than 285,000 spectators a glimpse at the U.S. military's capabilities at Farnborough while still protecting assets and technology, locking the U.S. Armed Services in as the premier and world leader in aviation.