Defenders: Protecting the mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Anabel Del Valle
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

When entering an Air Force installation, the first encounter will be with a Security Forces Defender, guarding the base and monitoring who enters the installation. Although Defenders are seen checking credentials, their duties do not end there.

The 325th Security Forces Squadron is home to all Defenders including the patrolmen seen roaming Tyndall Air Force Base. Patrolmen monitor all areas on base to look out for suspicious activity, regulate traffic and ensure mission success.

Patrolmen, who work 12 hour shifts, begin their day at the armory where they check out their assigned weapons; an M4 carbine and an M18 pistol. Upon entering their vehicle, they check required medical equipment is present and all functions of the car work properly. Once all the boxes are checked, they roll out to patrol base.

“I want people to know cops are not bad guys who want to get others in trouble,” explained Archer Seavolt, 325th SFS patrolman. “For example, when I pull people over for speeding, the main objective is to remind them it is better to get where you’re going late than to never get there at all.”

Part of keeping the base safe is making sure Defenders are seen, which lowers the probability laws will be broken. Patrolmen can be seen in parking lots and driving throughout base, ensuring their presence is known.

“We [make our presence known] because we want people to feel protected and know we are there watching out for the base, ultimately ensuring the mission can continue without threats.”

Successfully protecting Airmen, base assets and the mission requires loads of preparation, which is why Defenders must successfully complete several annual trainings including CPR classes, weapons training, riot control and force training.

According to Seavolt, the long shifts, weeks of training, and dangerous nature of the job is just part of doing what he loves.

“I have a lot of empathy and being a cop allows me to appropriately try to ensure justice. I love the affirmation that I am keeping others safe,” said Seavolt. “I have tried other jobs in business that pay more, but being a cop is what I love.”