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News: Gunfighter Defenders show gallantry downrange, share stories (Part 1 of series)

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Gunfighter Defenders show gallantry downrange, share stories Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace

A security forces airman fires his M4 carbine during training. 366th Security Forces Squadron Defenders have served as military working dog handlers attached to the Army; fought alongside Iraqi police as part of the police transformation teams; worked in detainee operations at Camp Bucca's Theater Internment Facility in Iraq and elsewhere; performed sniper, designated marksmen, airborne, and Army Ranger missions outside the wire in Iraq and Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Airman 1st Class Jaye Legate/RELEASED)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho – They’re the woman pumping gas at the Shoppette, the man sitting at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Defender in the pristine uniform standing out in the wind and snow, directing traffic through a downed traffic light.

Heroes … authors, poets, politicians, musicians and movie writers have all tried to paint the perfect picture of them throughout the years.

They come in many forms, and all different sexes, races and religions. But if one thing is certain, heroes walk among us every day, and many modestly patrol and defend this very base.

To whom did you hand your I.D. card to as you entered base this morning?

Charges: The 366th Security Forces Squadron has been accused of having valiance and gallantry within its ranks.

Accusations mounting against 366th SFS show that many Defenders in that squadron have performed non-traditional roles in hostile environments.

Verdict: Guilty as charged!

366th SFS Defenders have served as military working dog handlers attached to the Army; fought alongside Iraqi police as part of the police transformation teams; worked in detainee operations at Camp Bucca’s Theater Internment Facility in Iraq and elsewhere; performed sniper, designated marksmen, airborne, and Army Ranger missions outside the wire in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Judgment: Sustained military service as model officers, noncommissioned officers and airmen has built trust from leadership and validated mentorship among their ranks. Certain Defenders are hereby ordered to share their experiences so others may benefit from pathways they’ve already trekked.

Continue to follow this series as the 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office highlights heroic 366th SFS Defenders and shares their stories.

Editor's note: This is part 1 of series on 366th SFS Defenders. Be prepared to read the riveting stories of Staff Sgt. Daniel Ball, Staff Sgt. Matthew Smith, Tech. Sgt. James Zientek, Tech. Sgt. Francis Woznick, Master Sgt. Ryan Glosson, Senior Master Sgt. David Williams, Joshua Williams and other brave Defenders in the coming weeks.


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Public Domain Mark
This work, Gunfighter Defenders show gallantry downrange, share stories (Part 1 of series), by MSgt Kevin Wallace, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:01.13.2013

Date Posted:01.14.2013 12:22

Location:MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, ID, USGlobe

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  • If war were a symphony, then many would routinely be serenaded to sleep by the gentle sounds of mortar fire and explosions. 

‘Boom…boom…boom,’ could take the form of the bass section, keeping rhythm like a heartbeat. The ‘ratta-tatting’ of a .50 Cal at a combat outpost may be the mid-range, and the shriek of a might F-15E Strike Eagle could play treble.

But war’s not a symphony and service members place their lives into the hands of their teams each time they step foot outside their COP or forward operating base.

Master Sgt. Robert Simpson, 366th Security Forces Squadron logistics superintendent, knows this fact well, as he personally provided security on 18 combat patrols during one deployment alone.
  • He fought among unfamiliar brothers and then returned to heal alone. 

He was misunderstood, he said, feeling “leadership had no idea.”

Combat wasn’t easy for Tech. Sgt. James Zientek, yet the Air Force learned from the lessons security forces airmen taught.

As a squad leader in Iraq, Zientek, a 366th Security Forces Squadron flight chief and 11-year Air Force veteran, led a 16-person team patrolling towns and villages near Baghdad.
  • With rockets exploding around him and the entry control point in complete chaos, a security forces airman took decisive action to help quell the enemy threat and treat wounded comrades.

Some were wounded, a few dead, others assisting and many heading for cover. As for Staff Sgt. Daniel Ball, 366th Security Forces Squadron controller, running to a bunker wasn’t an option on that brisk March 2007 morning at Tallil Air Base, Iraq. There was work to be done.

“I was asleep in my bed when I heard a lot of explosions,” said Ball. “After listening for about 20 seconds, I realized it was incoming and not outgoing fire, jumped out of bed, threw on my gear, grabbed my weapon and ran out of the building. We had to go find the points of impact and clear them of any hazards or wounded personnel.”
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