For decades now, the 162nd Wing and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base have maintained the presence of global air power in the Tucson skies while invoking a patriotic sprit in the community.
Their military presence, however, is not exclusive of each other. From facilitating the sites that sustain the Total Force Training Center and Operation Noble Eagle to housing the 214th Reconnaissance Group, the Air Force’s history of commitment to Air Guard missions in Southern Arizona is without question.
So to reciprocate that support, the wing’s F-16 schoolhouse at the Tucson International Airport dispatched 8 of its security forces personnel last month to replace their deployed, active-duty counterparts at D-M.
“They’ll get experiences they typically don’t have here at the 162nd Wing,” said Senior Master Sgt. James Mulcahey, the security forces operations superintendent.
An A-10 Thunderbolt II hub with a joint-service mentality, D-M is more than just a military installation. It’s a city – boasting more than 10,000 people – with all the challenges that come with a city, such as tending to community calls for service, dealing with medical emergencies and urgent situations, and, if circumstances call for it, addressing petty crimes and alcohol-related offenses.
“The 162nd Wing Airmen are fully integrated into our operations,” said Kevin Johnson, the 355th Security Forces Squadron Trainer and Unit Reserve Coordinator, who brings 22 years of active Air Force experience to his current position as a civilian operator.
He added that although “mission sets are different and each base does operate with unique requirements, at the end of the day, we are all on the same team with the same goals of supporting the Air Force and our nation.”
Echoing that sentiment, Staff Sgt. Steven Nunez, a 162nd Wing security forces specialist, said pulling duty at a large base makes him more of a “well-rounded, non-commissioned officer,” adding that D-M personnel are “always willing to share their knowledge.”
The day-to-day activities for Nunez and his fellow Guard Airmen will co-exist with training, which will surround Air Force combative/defensive tactics, confrontation management, land navigation, as well as familiarization of flightline operations specific to D-M. And in what is sure to deviate from any of their general responsibilities at the 162nd Wing, they were introduced to LIDAR speed measuring devices for traffic and speed enforcement.
Because the Guard Airmen are drill status guardsmen, security forces manning at the 162nd Wing will not be affected, according to Senior Master Sgt. James Mulcahey.
“As our security forces specialists build strong relationships with their active-duty counterparts, our mission here of protecting wing personnel, assets and resources will remain intact,” he said.