News: Keesler NCO, San Diego native, manages security forces training for Southwest Asia unit
Story by Senior Airman Jenifer Calhoun
SOUTHWEST ASIA - She said she received her inspiration to serve in Air Force and in security forces from her father, a former security forces canine handler. And just like her father, Tech. Sgt. Erica Rougeux, a mother of two, is defining the path of being a "hero" for her own children.
"My father was my hero growing up," said Rougeux, who is the non-commissioned officer in charge in charge of training for the 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia. "He was in the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and was a California Highway Patrol officer. He served in the Air Force as a security forces canine handler and he raised me to believe there was nothing more rewarding than serving your country.
"He taught me and my two sisters that hard work, dedication and fighting for what's right were the most important things," she said. "I always wanted to follow in his footsteps. I joined the Air Force thinking I was going to get out after six years and join the California Highway Patrol, but I fell in love with security forces."
In her deployed job, Rougeux keeps deployed security forces Airmen prepared on their daily requirements through a regular training regimen. And in general, as a security forces Airman, Rougeux supports all security and force protection efforts for a deployed wing, the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, of more than 1,900 people and for billions of dollars worth of Air Force equipment and assets. She said what the base's "defenders" have to do every day in very important.
"I love the camaraderie, toughness and pride that come with the demanding job of being a security forces member," said Rougeux, who is deployed from the 81st Security Forces Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. "A lot of people don't realize how tough our job can be. They see us standing at gate shacks checking identification cards and think, 'Wow what a sweet gig. I could do that job.' What they don't see is it's that same troop they saw coming in to work standing out in the weather is the same troop standing out there when they leave. Or the fact that the hardest part of our duty is remaining ready for anything."
Security forces Airmen like Rougeux and those she trains receive a host of specialized training to complete their deployed mission. According to her Air Force job description, Rougeux is required to be able to lead, manage, supervise and perform force protection duties to include the use of deadly force to protect personnel and resources. She's also required to perform air base defense functions contributing to the force protection mission which includes controlling and securing terrain inside and outside military installations.
In addition to doing her job of defending personnel, equipment and resources from hostile forces, security forces members like Rougeux are capable of operating in various field environments and can perform individual and team patrol movements. Those movements include mounted and dismounted patrols, tactical drills, battle procedures, convoys, military operations other than war, antiterrorism duties and other special duties, according to the official job description.
A typical day at work for a deployed security forces Airman includes wearing the latest in "battle rattle." This can include the latest in protective armor and combat-ready gear. Additionally, they'll carry a loaded M-4 rifle, and possibly an M-9 pistol, in carrying out their deployed duties.
Rougeux's Air Force job description also shows security forces are able to operate communications equipment, vehicles, intrusion detection equipment, crew-served weapons and other special purpose equipment. As first responders, they can also apply self-aid buddy care and other life-saving procedures at accident and disaster scenes. With law enforcement, security forces are capable to apprehend and detain suspects, search persons and property, secures crime and incident scenes, and collect, seize and preserve evidence.
"Anyone who has been a security forces augmentee for any length of time can tell you sitting in 120-degree heat in an up-armored tactical vehicle with no air conditioning for up to 14 hours a day with little to no reprieve is no cake walk," Rougeax said. "But these troops do it day-in and day out without as much as a word. We are accustomed to a different way of life -- not to mention the never-ending list of information every defender is required to be able to rattle off at the drop of a hat. We are walking rolodexes of weapons, use of force, general orders and post information."
A native of San Diego, Calif., Rougeux said she's proud to be serving and will continue to do so happily. She said she's proud to carry on the police tradition her father did in so many different ways and hopes her children are as inspired by her dedication as she was of her father's.
"The Airmen of today are no different than the Airman I came up with -- they just have a different way of getting the mission done," Rougeux said. "I'm as proud today as I was when I joined to be a member of security forces."
On May 1, 2010, Rougeux was promoted to the grade of technical sergeant through the Weighted Airman Promotion System.
This work, Keesler NCO, San Diego native, manages security forces training for Southwest Asia unit, by MSgt Jenifer Calhoun, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.