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NEWS | July 23, 2013

Every Soldier's duty: Bde. Soldiers protect Eustis

By Airman 1st Class Austin Harvill 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

On August 31, 1981, a bomb planted by the Red Army Faction terrorist group exploded at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. On May 13, 1990, the New People's Army killed two U.S. Air Force personnel near Clark Air Base, Philippines. On March 4, 2010, a man opened fire at a Pentagon security checkpoint in Washington, D.C.

Without the protection provided by gate guards around the world, these events might be commonplace today. At Fort Eustis, Va., it is up to the 7th Sustainment Brigade Soldiers to ensure safety at the gates.

"A lot of us really start to become complacent once we're stateside," said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Paul Crowley, 2nd Platoon Inland Cargo Transfer, 53rd Movement Battalion, 7th Sust. Bde.. executive officer. "Guarding the gate and going through the training reminds [us] the threat is real, and we are the first line of defense."

At Fort Eustis, Soldiers from each unit work on a rotation to supplement the civilian police force manning the entry points to the installation. Crowley's platoon held the responsibility during the most recent rotation.

"We help move up to 10,000 vehicles through the gate every day," said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Mustafa Amin, 2nd Platoongate guard augmentee and platoon sergeant. "Our job here is critical to both base safety and maintaining our proficiencies as Soldiers."

Amin explained working the gate not only supplements his Soldiers' training, but unifies them as a team.

"Working seven days a week really demonstrates service before self, and they never complain about it," said Amin. "They have the opportunity to speak with civilian law enforcement personnel and learn a thing or two about protecting and serving."

Crowley said Soldiers also realize the impact and importance of their mission and the threats they face every day.

"The training they receive before being put on duty is realistic; it shows them what happened in the past, and how it can happen out of nowhere," said Crowley. "They learn not to get complacent, and it reinstates the reality of threat."

Crowley believes his platoon will carry out this duty with flying colors, a claim he bases on the confidence, dedication and vigilance they have continued to display.

"I live on the installation, so to me this job is real," said Crowley. "I know these guys are charged to keep my family safe, and I know they do it well."