Security Forces return from the desert

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt Emily Alley
  • 190th ARW/Public Affairs

In the midst of preparing for the ORI, Security Forces took six months to get real world experience. Twenty-seven members recently returned from Iraq. 

Security Forces personnel were responsible for flight line security and entry control in and around Baghdad International Airport. 

The tasking was similar to their responsibilities at home, except they were working in a combat zone. Security Forces worked in partnership with other guard units to protect traveling aircraft and Army helicopters and had to work under the threat of rocket attacks and other hazards. 

Staff Sgt. Paul Cross described one of his major responsibilities as inspecting vehicles and working with Iraqi nationals. This was Cross' second tour in Iraq. His first was as an active duty Marine. 

"It's fun to do what you're trained to do, day in and day out," said Cross. "Sometimes as a traditional, you miss the small nuances of the job." 

Another Security Forces' tasking was weapons training with Iraqi special forces. The training was mostly with AK-47's. 

"It's good for them," said Chief Master Sgt. James Steele, of the Iraqis learning how to use their own weapons to provide security. 

The Coyotes also had to deal with the Iraqi heat, which easily topped 110 degrees and even reached 120 on a few occasions. 

Rees said there were also quite a few dust storms. "It was like driving through fog," said Rees. "You had to take precaustions to keep dust out of your lungs, but it got everywhere...there was no stopping it." 

Members of the SFS also ran into a former Coyote. Master Sgt. (Ret) Rees, a former member of the 190th SFS, was working as a contractor for the Department of Defense providing small arms repairs. 

With eight of his full-time Security Forces personnel gone, Steele brought in several traditional guardsmen as replacements. Since 27 total members were deployed, drills were uneventful during the six-month deployment due to reduced personnel. 

"We've had a massive influx in Security Forces," said Steele, describing the changes since his personnel were first deployed. "When they return they'll be shocked." 

After six months overseas, the members were given downtime before they return and prepare for the ORI. November will be their first month back.