HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The 419th Security Forces Squadron is made up of more than 80 reservists trained to protect military installations around the world. The majority of 419th SFS personnel are traditional reservists who serve part-time in the military but also have full-time careers in the community, such as cops or corrections officers.
To uphold a high level of security, every U.S. Air Force base has its own police force. Security forces are trained in law enforcement and combat arms to protect and serve their fellow Airmen around the clock with similar responsibilities as civilian police officers, including responding to emergencies, directing traffic, and investigating crimes on base.
The SFS is divided into various areas of expertise including operations, intelligence, administration, and logistics. Under the operations arm, the specialties break down even more into machine gunner, heavy weapons, radio operator, designated marksman, grenadier, K-9 handler, supply, and combat arms training and maintenance.
“Like our civilian counterparts, we drive in police cars, carry handcuffs, guns, and radios to patrol against crime. We enforce the law and traffic rules, and respond to fire, criminal, and other emergencies,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Brinton, 419th SFS fire team leader, who also works full time as a police officer for West Valley City. “But we’re different in that when we deploy overseas, we are tasked with base security, to include entrances and exits, flightline access, roving patrols, and security for U.S. assets. We also provide security for convoy missions and protect the nation’s nuclear arsenal — something a civilian cop wouldn’t do.”
In the past year, reservists in the 419th SFS have traveled to numerous locations for hands-on training and real-world support, including Hawaii, Alaska, Spain, and Southwest Asia. Most travel opportunities come during their annual tour – a two-week training requirement for reservists that typically takes place outside of Utah. But when not on annual tour, they are working on mission readiness during their monthly unit training assembly weekend.
Working one weekend a month and two weeks a year, Air Force reservists are expected to maintain the same level of training and proficiency as their active duty counterparts.
“Even though we’re only here one weekend month, we don’t take our responsibilities lightly,” said Master Sgt. David Hasseler, 419th SFS squad leader, who also works full time as a police officer for Layton City. “Our squadron supports the larger active-duty security forces, which is the first line of defense for the Air Force. We protect the Air Force’s personnel and equipment from hostile forces, leaving other personnel to focus on the overall mission to fly, fight, and win.”