Security Forces Airmen advise Afghan counterparts on base security

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace
  • Regional Command-West Public Affairs
Since 1943, security forces Airmen have toed the line of defence for U.S. Air Force bases in America and abroad, and sometimes in hostile environments.

Helping to build capability similar to that of the U.S. Air Force security forces, airmen deploy on six-month rotations to Shindand Air Base, Herat Province, Afghanistan, and advise Afghan air force security forces there.

Currently a team of 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group officers and NCOs, made up of Airmen from the U.S. and Italian air forces, are guiding dozens of Afghan airmen.

"We have an important job advising Afghan airmen, because unlike many bases in our homelands, these guys have a constant threat of insurgent attacks here," said Italian air force 1st Lieutenant Marshall (Chief Master Sgt. equivalent) Mario Grecco, an Italian air force provider team adviser.

Afghan air force security forces have developed to the point that they already stand watch at Shindand Air Base entry control points, said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Irwin Sealy, deployed from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Due to progress in training, the 838th AEAG has transitioned to an advisory role, where Afghans train other Afghans, accomplish real-world missions, and the coalition provides feedback.

Fellow adviser 1st Marshall (Senior Master Sgt. equivalent) David Suligoj also advises the Afghan air force and is joined by American officers and NCOs.

Combined efforts of U.S. Air Force Capt. John Rose from Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., Tech. Sgt. Bryant Evans from Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., Tech. Sgt. Garrett Knight from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Sergeant Sealy and the two Italian advisers resulted in a two-week base defense training curriculum.

"In the future these (Afghan air force) airmen will learn to push outside the perimeter and take defence postures," Captain Rose said. "Instead of being reactive to insurgents penetrating the base, they'll keep the insurgents from ever reaching the base."

Though coalition security forces members have executed these types of missions in real-world situations countless numbers of times, the Afghan air force is brand new and in its infancy. It was the Afghan National Army Air Corps prior to that.

Currently Shindand AB is home to about 300 Afghan airmen and roughly 400 Afghan National Army soldiers, said Italian air force Lt. Col. Alberto Autore, a provider team adviser.

"We need to grow to a much larger capacity as in the future Shindand will likely support several thousand Afghan troops," Colonel Autore said.

Thousands of troops will require support elements, and a flourishing base, said Italian air force Col. Girolamo Iadicicco, the provider team commander, who is certain the professional advice his airmen and their U.S. Air Force counterparts provide will be the right ingredient to securing Shindand's perimeter.

With security in place, the AAF will have a protected base from which to launch their Mi-17 Hip helicopters, which means protecting their homeland, supporting ground soldiers and securing their skies.