By Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice
386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Working as the first line of defense to the U.S. Air Force’s busiest aerial port of debarkation in the world is a lot of responsibility for a person to shoulder.
But this is a responsibility that Airman 1st Class Jessica Hill, 387th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron entry controller, carries with great pride.
“I am the first person people must go through to gain access to the base,” said the Phoenix, Ariz. native deployed from Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. “My role is very important as I ensure the military’s resources are protected from potential terrorist attacks.”
Airman Hill and other entry controllers here at an undisclosed location are responsible for ensuring the safety of all U.S. military, Department of Defense civilian and contract personnel, and government property on the installation.
“My basic duty is to control access onto military installations by ensuring individuals have proper identification,” she said. “My days here are filled from morning to night with convoys and missions going in and out of the base. I’m constantly verifying identification badges and searching vehicles to ensure our base stays safe and that nothing is getting on or off the base that shouldn’t.”
While the 18-month Air Force veteran said her job downrange holds the same responsibilities as that of her stateside job, she faces a few unique challenges abroad.
“The most challenging aspect of my job is dealing with individuals who do not speak my language,” she said. “It really complicates communication. Another challenge is dealing with contracted individuals who don’t understand the importance of our mission and get frustrated with security forces, instead of thanking us for providing them safety so they can operate without fear.”
Airman Hill said that over the last year and a half she has spent in the security forces career field, she has picked up on a few important qualities she feels all security forces members must possess in order to be successful in their line of work.
“Number one would have to be patience,” she said. “Second would have to be determination. Third is motivation. All of these things are very important because they all work as one. Our job can be very repetitive, but you cannot get complacent; that’s when mistakes happen.”
The entry controller added that oftentimes people underestimate just how hard security forces members work both at home station and downrange.
“We work long hours in all types of conditions,” she said. “We deploy every six months and we work holidays.”
While this is Airman Hill’s first deployment, she said it is an experience she doesn’t take for granted and she looks forward to deploying again in the future.
“Deploying has its challenges — good and bad, but as long as you stay positive, get involved and understand that what you’re doing is important, it can be a great experience,” she said. “I’ve been able to work with some outstanding individuals and experience new things I never would have otherwise. I’m thankful for this opportunity.”
As Airman Hill ends another day in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, she takes a moment to reflect on the responsibilities that come with her security forces badge and the pride she carries from wearing it.
“What I enjoy the most is being able to see the rewards of defending my base such as members of all branches of the military working together to accomplish essential missions with the peace of mind of knowing we are guarding the base. It’s nice knowing that without me protecting my base there would be a greater threat of harm.”