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NEWS | July 1, 2013

Entry control personnel provide first line of defense

By Senior Airman Kayla Newman 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

On any given weekday, up to 9, 000 personnel come through the gates on Langley Air Force Base, Va.

Monday at 5 a.m., a group of Airmen stand in formation ready to find out what gate they will be assigned to. At 6 a.m., those same Airmen don yellow reflective vests and begin to process vehicles through the main gates.

These Airmen do not wear the berets or police badges of security forces members.

They are Service members from different squadrons across Langley who are posted at the West and King Street Gates, serving as entry control support personnel to ensure morning weekday traffic is processed in a timely manner.

With the amount of traffic that has to be processed through the gate in the morning, these Airmen are an important part of making sure SFS can accomplish their mission.

"These [personnel] are very vital to us at [SFS]," explained Abraham Smith, 633rd Air Base Wing Security Forces Squadron trainer. "The morning is when the bulk of the people come onto base, so they are critical to our manning."

Due to the nature of entry control procedures, before these Airmen head out to the gates, they receive specialized training on identification requirements, safe-haven procedures, Department of Defense shipments coming on base, political asylum situations and gate closures due to emergency situations.

"We train them on different scenarios that can happen, because if something does happen, they are going to be the ones in the middle of it," explained Smith.

This training is crucial to ensuring overall base security, said Smith.

Smith said their training also includes communication procedures, Langley legal jurisdiction, security forces concepts and operations, military working dog safety, blood-borne pathogens and barrier training.

While Smith and his SFS team understand how vital these Airmen are in ensuring traffic flow and security, the support personnel also see their impact on the security forces mission.

"Looking at it from a security forces member's view, I know we are helping immensely with their mission," explained Airman 1st Class Anita O'Daniel, 633rd Force Support Squadron force management technician. "From an entry control personnel perspective, I feel like we are making the traffic flow more efficiently."

Although these personnel may not choose to perform this detail, O'Daniel has enjoyed the unexpected benefit of being able to network with fellow Langley Airmen.

"Performing this detail is a great opportunity," said O'Daniel. "This is a unique way to meet new people from other career fields that you may not have had the opportunity to [otherwise]."

As Friday morning draws to an end and the vehicles coming onto base become more sporadic, the entry control personnel can sense their week of successfully securing the base is coming to a close.

"It makes me proud to know that I had a part in training these personnel and ensuring the base's safety at the gates," said Smith. "To see these Airmen performing this detail and knowing what they are supposed to do is great. These Airmen are not working for us at security forces, they are working with us."