78th SFS: Defending Robins around the clock

  • Published
  • By Kisha Foster Johnson
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office

As the sun begins to set, so marks the start of the night shift for Charlie Team with 78th Security Forces Squadron at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

These Defenders guard inside the gate on a 12-hour watch.

“Someone has to do it,” said Airman 1st Class Sean Casey, 78th SFS Defender. “I love my job. Protecting the base from external or internal threats is satisfying.”

Security Forces is a 24/7/365 operation, which works to ensure the base remains secure and operational.

But working under the cloak of darkness has its challenges.

“The biggest challenge these Airmen face is not getting complacent,” said Senior Master Sgt. Gregory Lawn, 78th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent. “They do the same job as their counterparts who work day shift, such as checking ID cards, securing assets on the flight line, and patrolling the installation, which includes the residential areas.”

Lawn said it’s important for them to remain alert because there is not a lot of activity on base at night.

As superintendent of operations, Lawn handles management and oversight of the squadron.

He makes the most of nocturnal challenges and creates opportunities for the team to train.

“We incorporate a lot of flight level exercises,” said Lawn. “They have more time to train and hone their skills for different scenarios like DUIs or gate runner exercises.”

Members of security forces are like civilian law enforcement officers in the duties performed, such as making arrests and giving out citations for road violations. Yet, they are also trained to operate as a ground combat force while deployed on a mission.

In either scenario, these Airmen are aware of the life-threatening risks their roles can bring.

For that reason, Defenders solemnly acknowledge National Police Week, an annual event to honor those who died in the line of duty.

“I take this time to remember the ones who came before me who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Tech. Sgt. Dennis Subject, 78th SFS flight sergeant.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls, as National Police Week.

Inside the 78th SFS main building, a memorial wall is dedicated to Air Force Defenders who were killed in the line of duty since 9/11.

“I look forward to this week every single year because it is a chance for all of us to sit back and reflect on those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Lawn. “We memorialize those killed in the line of duty. It’s very special to us because we have had Defenders killed in action in an expeditionary environment. This is another time to remember them too.

“And like those gone before us,” Lawn continued. “We we too stand ready at home or abroad to serve and protect even if it means giving our lives.”