Sept. 1, 1989

Everybody calls them “the cops.” They even refer to themselves that way. But as a redesigna­tion of the career field—from “air police” to “security police”—recog­nized years ago, the job goes far be­yond directing traffic and keeping the peace on base.

Air Force Security Policemen (SPs) are the base’s first line of de­fense against terrorists and sabo­teurs, its guardians of nuclear weap­ons, and much more. In a salute to security police professionals every­where, AFA this year is honoring five of their finest as the 1989 Team of the Year.

The career field incorporates two main specialties, security and law enforcement. Security specialists provide defense for such resources as aircraft, missiles, nuclear weap­ons, and elements of the command and control system. They are trained and equipped to defend an air base against commando raids and attack by enemy ground forces.

Law-enforcement functions in­clude maintaining law and order, pa­trolling the base, working with guard dogs, regulating entry to the base, enforcing traffic laws, administering confinement and cor­rections, improving crime preven­tion, and performing various other police services. Law-enforcement specialists are also trained in air base ground defense tactics.

Approximately 38,000 enlisted personnel serve in Security Police assignments. Here are five of them:

• TSgt. James R. Bingham of Hq. Air Force Space Command (AF­SPACECOM), Peterson AFB, Colo., is a security supervisor. By putting the right resources in the right places at the right time, he en­sured that manpower cuts had a minimum effect on AFSPACECOM security. He created a database that helps manage officer and senior NCO assignments for the com­mand’s SPs and developed a com­puter spreadsheet program to track unit strengths and manpower trends early.

Sergeant Bingham also takes the initiative to work on additional proj­ects. As the project officer for a short-notice System Acquisition Management Inspection of security sensor systems, he quickly gath­ered and organized the necessary information. The inspectors were impressed.

Sergeant Bingham was the 1987 USAF Security Police NCO of the Year in the security specialty. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Southwest Texas State University and two associate degrees from the Community College of the Air Force.

• A1C Linda K. Dean of the 142d Security Police Flight (ANG), Port­land International Airport, Ore., is a law-enforcement specialist and base-entry controller. She is a Top Gun award recipient and a fully qualified ambulance paramedic. During a simulated terrorist threat scenario for the 1987 TAC Opera­tional Readiness Inspection, her vigilance at the main gate stopped several intruders.

When forest fires blazed through southern Oregon last fall, firefight­ers relied on Airman Dean’s level­headedness. She expertly con­trolled the flood of vehicle and fire­fighter traffic and helped maintain security for personnel and equip­ment.

Airman Dean was also on a ten-person security team that supplied round-the-clock protection for more than 4,000 delegates and visi­tors at the 1988 National Guard As­sociation conference.

In civilian life, Airman Dean is a police officer with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department. She is pursuing an associate degree in criminal justice from Portland Com­munity College.

• TSgt. Ronald G. Kessinger of the 142d Security Police Flight (ANG), Portland International Air­port, Ore., is a security controller. As the assistant Air Base Ground Defense (ABGD) coordinator, Ser­geant Kessinger aided in training a thirteen-person deployment team for ABGD at McChord AFB, Wash. He helped to develop a top-notch compass course, commanded the aggressor force during a three-day practice exercise, and shared in the responsibility for deploying the group.

Sergeant Kessinger volunteered to serve as the weight-control and physical-fitness monitor for the unit. He was selected as the 1987 Reserve Component Outstanding Security Police Airman in the secu­rity specialty. He maintains a 3.4 grade-point average at Oregon State University, and he will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration this December.

• SSgt. Randall E. McCormick of the 842d Security Police Group (SAC), Grand Forks AFB, N. D., is a security specialist who serves as a missile security systems trainer and ABGD instructor. During his first days at Grand Forks, he earned a position on the 1988 Missile Combat Competition Team. He later became fire-team leader for the 1988 SAC Peacekeeper Challenge Team. In this annual competition, Sergeant McCormick performed exception­ally well in the obstacle course and combat rifle events. He was the trainer of the 842d Security Police Group contingent for the 1989 Mis­sile Combat Competition.

A certified emergency medical technician, Sergeant McCormick serves as the leader for the Base Emergency Services Team. This Tae Kwon Do blue belt and certified parachutist is the recipient of the 1987 Air Force Outstanding Securi­ty Police First Term Airman Securi­ty Specialist Award. He is working toward an associate degree in crimi­nal justice from the Community College of the Air Force.

• TSgt. Russell S. Rickert of the 4th Security Police Squadron (TAC), Seymour Johnson AFB, N. C., is a law-enforcement flight chief with a long list of academic and profession­al honors. He is a three-time recip­ient of the TAC Certificate of Distin­guished Scholastic Achievement. He was a 1985 Distinguished Honor Graduate from the Army’s Military Police Investigative Course and the 1986 John Levitow Honor Graduate from NCO Leadership School. He was selected as the 1987 USAF Out­standing NCO of the Year. He par­ticipated in several Peacekeeper Challenge competitions and re­ceived awards for his tactics, com­bat rifle work, and crime-scene in­vestigation.

In 1988, Seymour Johnson AFB slashed its crime rate by ten per­cent. Sergeant Rickert was credited with forty-three percent of the iden­tifications in the cases resolved.

A certified student pilot, Ser­geant Rickert is active with the Civil Air Patrol. He received an associate degree in criminal justice from the Community College of the Air Force.