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‘Kind Hearted’ Defenders: a vital asset

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace
  • 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Twenty-three years of dedicated service summarizes this warrior.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Columbia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Peru, Panama, Turkmenistan, Hungary, Mozambique and Southwest Asia - all places he has served.

In fact, if Air Force security forces have performed an operation anywhere on the green earth, there's a good chance Senior Master Sgt. David Williams, 366th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent, was in the mix.

During his most recent deployment to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Williams was assigned as the 820th Base Defense Group security superintendent, where he streamlined International Security Assistance Force manpower requirements. He was also the battle captain managing joint force responses to indirect fire and improvised-explosive device attacks.

He did all that while leading 103 personnel from 14 coalition nations tasked to screen more than 336,000 servicemembers.

In essence, Williams equipped and led the warfighters.

"As a headquarters, we managed the largest (area of responsibility) security and badging operation," said Williams. "We directed entry control point operations and targeted perimeter upgrades by procuring three hardened guard towers, which proved pivotal on the perimeter and closed vulnerability gaps to secure combat aircraft."

Command and control billets weren't always the deployment taskings Williams took on. In fact, as an Air Mobility Command Phoenix Raven, he frequently found himself in a wide-array of environments.

Ravens are a specially trained security forces Airman dedicated to provide security for AMC aircraft transiting high terrorist and criminal threat areas.

"Our mission was provide an acceptable level of close-in security for aircraft transiting airfields where security is unknown or additional security is needed to counter local threats," said Williams. "In training we're exposed to more than 70 use-of-force scenarios where stress is simulated using role players. Training includes instruction and realistic practical exercises in antiterrorism and force protection, weapon system security, verbal judo, combatives, tactical baton employment and advanced firearms proficiency."

According to Williams, there are two areas or misconceptions many people correlate with law enforcement personnel, or more specifically security forces.

"Many people view security forces as cocky or arrogant when in all actuality the vast majority are simply confident in their abilities," said Williams. "In our career field we develop and push our Defenders to be confident in their abilities in order to maintain order and discipline."

366th SFS Defenders have served as military working dog handlers attached to the Army; fought alongside Iraqi police as part of the police transformation teams; worked in detainee operations at Camp Bucca's Theater Internment Facility in Iraq and elsewhere; performed sniper, designated marksmen, airborne, and Army Ranger missions outside the wire in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some non-traditional roles harden Defenders, which some may perceive them as having a crusty edge.

According to Williams, this makes many people see security forces as unfriendly and unapproachable. But nothing is further from the truth, he said.

"People should recognize the kind hearted Defender ... the Defender that spends countless hours supporting the 'Shop with a Cop' or 'Boo-Bash' programs in order to build positive relationships with young people in our communities," said Williams. "Those are the Defenders that need to be highlighted and thanked for their daily duties."