First AF security forces readiness center opens

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FORT BLISS, Texas — As a young captain, Air Force Brig. Gen. Allen Jamerson once wondered why the Air Force did not have one place where security forces could go for training and evaluation.

“All security forces would come through (Fort Polk, Louisiana), and they had all been trained at different regional training centers, and there was a different standard of training for each one of those people based on the center they went to,” said Jamerson, director of security forces, deputy chief of staff for logistics, installations and mission support, Air Force headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Jamerson was not the only one who aspired for a better training system, and during the Desert Defender Ground Combat Readiness Training Center ribbon-cutting ceremony at Fort Bliss Thursday, Jamerson saw his hopes become a reality.

Not only will Air Force security forces now have one consolidated ground combat readiness training center, but all Air Force security forces, be they active-duty Air Force, Air Reserve Command or Air National Guard, will use the center. Air Force officials partnered with the U.S. Army, and specifically the 1st Armored Division, to create the center.

Maj. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland, commanding general, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, as well as Brig. Gen. Jon S. Lehr, commander, Joint Task Force North, and Col. Thomas E. Munsey, Fort Bliss garrison commander, attended the ceremony. Jamerson thanked MacFarland for his support and the ongoing help from everyone at Fort Bliss.

“Sir, my staff has been coming down here for quite some time working with your team, and they have had nothing but praise about the support that they get,” Jamerson said. “And they’ve had nothing but praise for the facilities, the ranges the dorms and the services. Everything has been first-class.”

Jamerson noted the idea for the center was not his own, and that work on the center began before he became director of security forces.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Kenneth W. Wisian, deputy adjutant general and commander of the Texas Air National Guard, was the event’s guest speaker, and he said the center will bring an added efficiency and effectiveness to Air Force security training.

“It’s important to remember that it’s not just efficiency, it’s effectiveness that is improved by this,” Wisian said. “That’s the bottom line for the military — to be effective.”

Wisian praised Col. Patrick M. Kelly, commander of the headquarters Air Force Security Forces Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and the staff there for getting the center ready while continuing to train a full load of students.

“The standup of this center, like everything else over the last 13 years or so, is happening under load,” Wisian said. “There was no time to shut down training.”

He also thanked Lt. Col. Carl Alvarez, retired commander of the Texas Air National Guard 204th Security Forces Squadron at Fort Bliss, for being a driving force behind the center.

“I look forward to coming back to the school house soon when I have time to get out in the field, do the fun part, and see the training in progress,” Wisian said. “The esprit de corps of the Air Force security forces is always impressive, and it’s just plain fun to be around you folks.”