176th Security Forces Squadron defenders come home from six-month deployment

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Thirteen security forces defenders from the 176th Security Forces Squadron returned to Alaska on Jan. 22 after a six-month deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

During the defenders' stint attached to the 386th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, about 65 percent of the positions were manned by Guardsmen from across the nation, according to Senior Master Sgt. Bryan Morberg, the 176th SFS troop lead.

Their overall mission was to provide security for the air base, ensuring the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing's role to re-supply missions and provide combat service support to land component forces went unhindered. The Alaskans integrated into several positions including base patrol, security intelligence, Pass and Identification office and fly away security team.

The defenders were prepared to take whatever position was handed to them, and several of them gained new experiences from the deployment.

"We had people all over the place, not necessarily performing missions they'd ever done before," Morberg said. "This was a great place to take [the first-time deployers]. Learning base security operations in an expeditionary environment is definitely a different world than performing security back here."

Airman 1st Class Richard Stack III and few of his comrades were deployed for the first time. Stack was assigned to the fly away security team, a position requiring him to escort and guard aircraft at locations with insufficient security.

"In my opinion, [FAST] was one of the best missions you could get," Stack said. "You really get to see the Air Force mission first hand, and that's pretty cool."

Wing leadership welcomed back the defenders both at the airport and during in-processing.

"You guys did an incredible job representing your squadron, your wing, and your state," said Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Paul Nelson to the returning members.

Morberg explained that though this deployment took the troops overseas during three major holidays, their morale was helped by community support.

"They all performed really well throughout all that," he said. "We got a lot of support from back home, especially over the holiday season. [Also] groups that we didn't have any personal affiliation with. A lot of those made a world of difference."
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