EAST GRANBY, Conn. – The 103rd Security Forces Squadron at Bradley Air National Guard Base received the award for 2019 Air National Guard Outstanding Security Forces Unit of the Year during a ceremony attended by Air National Guard Security Forces leadership Sept. 19.
Col. Victor Moncrieffe, Air National Guard chief of security forces, and Chief Master Sgt. T.J. Hall, Air National Guard security forces career field manager, presented the award to the 103rd's Defenders.
"It's an honor to be here with the nation's best," Moncrieffe said to the formation.
The award was announced in March, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its physical presentation.
The criteria for evaluation is holistic and goes beyond the core tasks of Security Forces.
"About two-thirds of the award submission was about duty accomplishments, and the final third is what we're doing to get in the community as well," said Senior Master Sgt. Richard Marks, 103rd Security Forces Squadron Security Forces manager. "I think it's extremely important because, at the end of the day, we're all Citizen-Airmen and part of our community."
"Being a Defender is the minimum," said Lt. Col. William Deme, 103rd Security Forces Squadron commander. "You really need to be working beyond the four walls of this organization and letting people know what we do and where our hearts are for the community."
In addition to getting outside the base and volunteering in the community, the squadron routinely thinks outside the box when training its members, said Marks.
"Whenever we have the opportunity, we like to get our folks out the door," said Marks. "One of those was PATRIOT North. We were able to train with multiple units and federal agencies and showcase the training they had received leading up to it."
PATRIOT North is a National Guard Bureau-sponsored domestic operations exercise held annually at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center in Wisconsin. Training events like these are vital in sharpening the squadron's readiness, said Deme.
"If all you do is practice being a Defender within these four walls, you get really good at being a defender within these four walls," said Deme. "You have to be able to do things in different locations with different personnel with different equipment you wouldn't normally have an opportunity to practice with."
Marks also credited the squadron's performance in its day-to-day responsibilities for the award.
"Everyone gets to come work in a safe environment and not worry about things happening, and that's because our Defenders are out there 24/7/365 keeping this place safe," said Marks. "Christmas morning, when people are at home enjoying their families, there are Defenders here watching over this base so people can sleep safely."
Squadron members also received two individual awards. Senior Master Sgt. James Reynolds was named 2019 Security Forces Air Reserve Component Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, and Senior Airman Alexis Maher received the 103rd Airlift Wing First Sergeant Council's annual Diamond Award. Additionally, Tech. Sgt. Dedrick Baublitz was coined by Moncrieffe for his efforts in training his fellow Defenders.
"Across the board our senior NCOs have done a very good job leading and mentoring our NCOs, and that has enabled us to have outstanding Airmen," said Marks.
The unit and individual awards are the latest examples in a tradition of excellence for the squadron, and will be an opportunity for further growth, said Deme.
"It's not a culmination; it's a starting point for us," said Deme. "We're just getting warmed up and we're looking forward to bigger and better things to come."