Only the best protect the rest

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The warm dark nights of Hurlburt Field are peaceful, besides the humming of aircraft, it’s quiet around here.

With silence however, can come trouble, and the defenders of the 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron are here to protect the nearly 6,700 acres of land and approximately 8,000 military personnel 24/7.

“Defenders from the 1 SOSFS ensure the safety of the installation and all personnel whether military, civilian, or dependent.” said Tech. Sgt. Bradlee Shipley, a mid-shift flight chief for the 1st SOSFS. “From the Airman standing watch at the gate who serve as a first line of defense, to the security patrol on the flight line enabling the [1st Special Operations Wing] aircraft to accomplish their mission both home station and downrange.”

Patrolman have a variety of different responsibilities depending on which post they are assigned to.

Flightline patrolmen prevent unauthorized entries into controlled areas on the flightline, conduct building checks and protect aircraft and the Air Commandos who operate them.

Area supervisors enforce traffic laws, patrol different sections and educate the public on different infractions that are violated.

“Tickets go towards your driving privileges on base,” said Staff Sgt. Jelani Acevedo-Morales, patrolman with the 1st SOSFS. “Some offenses carry more points than others. Reckless driving carries six, and failure to stop at a stop sign carries three to four. Twelve points in a 12 month timespan gets your driving privileges suspended on base.”

While these defenders of the night complete the same tasks as their day shift equivalents, they do so with a few disadvantages.

“All night shift personnel know the struggle to maintain their sleep schedule and attend official Air Force appointments or training which is geared toward normal duty hours.” Shipley said.

With drawbacks also come benefits, with less traffic on the road, defenders have more opportunity to run preventative exercises such as DUI apprehension and other routine traffic stops.

Because of the resiliency and determination of the 1st SOSFS Defenders, who patrol Hurlburt Field day in, day out, the base populace can rest comfortably throughout the night.

“I would like the Airman working night shift to know that their leadership has every confidence in their ability to complete their mission with limited supervision.” Shipley said. “While your impact on the Air Force may not always be seen directly, you are an integral part to the Air Force mission; only the best protect the rest.”