By Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow | 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Col. Thomas Falzarano, 21st Space Wing commander, took a day to tour the Security Forces Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colorado Aug. 16, 2019.
During his visit, Falzarano met with defenders throughout various work centers. He learned how they are responsible for safeguarding the lives of the men, women and military property on base around the clock.
The 21st Security Forces Squadron consists of five sections, including two lateral sections — military working dog and combat arms. Defenders are responsible for keeping people, aircraft, the base, weapons and the surrounding area safe from any threat.
While with the defenders, Falzarano received briefings about each of the squadron’s sections, met with the Airmen and asked for their thoughts on improving the stigma associated with security forces.
“Security forces members are Peterson’s first line of defense,” Falzarano said. “Their job isn’t an easy one. They are out there for 12-to 14-hour shifts, and the job is physically and mentally demanding.”
When visiting the defenders, Falzarano drove all-terrain vehicles on the perimeter of the base to assist in his understanding of installation jurisdiction, base boundaries, security, demarcation lines, access control points, sentry duties and installation defense. ATVs are the easiest way for security forces to navigate along the perimeters of Peterson AFB and Cheyenne Mountains AFS as well as other areas where terrain is rougher than normal.
Falzarano took time throughout the tour to see all the defenders posted at the gates of both Peterson AFB and Cheyenne Mountain AFS.
“Listening to everyone’s stories is always a highlight,” Falzarano said. “You don’t know people until you really get to talk to them.”
A team of four Airmen demonstrated closing in on and reacting to contact with the enemy through basic fundamentals of fire teams called shoot, move and communicate. The objective is to conduct individual movement techniques together as a team.
Falzarano was able to partake in stun gun training after a three-minute warm-up. Security forces use stun guns to provide themselves and others with a means of self-defense that can mitigate or eliminate the chances of serious injury or death, both to themselves and their assailants.
“This was by far my favorite part of the day,” Falzarano said. “The idea of being shocked was a bit nerve-wracking, but after feeling the shock it made me realize how much our defenders put themselves on the line to protect us.”
Not only did Falzarano participate in stun gun training, but he was also able to feel the bite force of a furry, four-legged Airman.
Staff Sgt. Katelyn Grau, 21st Security Force Squadron military working dog handler, and her K9, Rrudy, demonstrated their teamwork through bite work using Falzarano as the aggressor. MWDs chase suspects, track them if they are hidden and guard them when they are caught. They are trained to respond viciously if their handler is attacked. Many canines are trained in detection as well.
During the last half of Falzarano’s day with SFS, he visited with defenders stationed at CMAFS located at Cheyenne Mountain on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Security forces members are heavily involved at CMAFS, as the complex is an underground facility and supports U.S. Strategic Command’s Missile Warning Center, other strategic warning and survival capabilities, and provides a ready alternative operating location for North American Aerospace Defense Command’s command center.
Falzarano ended his tour at Peterson’s base defense operations center, where the Defenders explained how the location serves as the focal point for base security and defense. BDOC plans, directs, integrates, coordinates and controls all base defense efforts.