By Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
A film begins playing and a grainy image fades in. The 4th Space Operations Squadron’s blue horn sits on a bench alone in a holding cell. The crime; being unsecured, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
After a moment, subtitles begin flashing across the bottom of the screen.
“4 SOPS, for some time now you have annoyed attendees of promotions ceremonies and wing functions with your horn’s incessant honking. We have taken from you your source of power and motivation.”
The video, recently taken by an anonymous party, is a grim one for the members of 4 SOPS. The only way to get their horn back, now covered in SFS stickers, lies solely on their ability to follow a trail of photos being released on the 50th Space Wing Facebook page.
The story of the horn, 4 SOPS’s prized possession, began during Lt. Col. Scott Trinrud’s command there.
“Culture and artifacts are very important to organizations,” said Trinrud. “I wanted to restore some symbol of 4 SOPS to rally behind and be proud of, so I thought a semi-tractor air horn would be a great way to do it. Many units have cheers or chants they do at such events, but I liked the simplicity and power of the 4 SOPS horn, so we went with that.”
The horn’s crafter was then Master Sgt. Sergio Perez, head of the 4 SOPS Mobile Maintenance team, who decided to get creative by using semi-truck horns attached to some air tanks he already had at home.
Now retired from the Air Force but still working on Schriever Air Force Base, Perez wasn’t surprised that the horn was so sought after and had been taken.
“At the end of the day, no one should be crying. It’s just how you play the game,” he said. “If you introduce something as loud as 4 SOPS’s horn, other squadrons will undoubtedly get jealous.”
Perez also noted that this isn’t the first time the horn has been taken. The 3rd Space Operations Squadron has stolen it before. In response, 4 SOPS created a second horn.
Although many eye witnesses claim during the last promotion ceremony they saw 50th Security Forces Squadron members snatch the horn and escape with it, the 4 SOPS commander is still giving the squadron the benefit of the doubt and requesting their help in finding it.
Unfortunately, he feels they have been little help thus far.
“I have no idea who stole the horn as it is private property,” said Trinrud. “The local security forces squadron has done nothing officially as I have asked numerous times on how to file a report to get stolen property returned. I am unaware of any rivalry between the two units as I am sure the SFS would not knowingly steal private property.”
Lt. Col. Jasin Cooley, 50 SFS commander, was quick to reassure Trinrud that his squadron was doing everything in their power to get to the bottom of the situation.
“My investigators are tirelessly chasing down every possible lead to determine who perpetrated this heinous crime; no stone will be left unturned! We have already provided a case summary to the Office of Special Investigations and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in case we find reason to believe that the stolen property has left the installation,” he said.
In addition, Cooley added that the FBI in Denver had been notified in the event that an interstate crime was committed as well as the National Reconnaissance Office Operations Squadron to utilize any relevant assets they may have.
“We have indeed interviewed every military member and civilian present at the relevant event,” said Cooley. “Alas, the leads have been scarce. Most witnesses describe the suspect as a male in ABUs, short hair, between 5 feet, 8 inches and 6 feet. However, there is a strange, collective unwillingness to provide additional details, almost like the witnesses are sympathetic towards the suspect. Strange, indeed.”
Trinrud remains confident the horn will be returned.
“I am certain whoever stole the horn will return it safely since it is private property. Security forces will be very busy getting witness reports from hundreds of people,” he said.
To view the “ransom video” for 4 SOPS’s horn and to follow this story further, visit the 50 SW Facebook page.