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    104th Security Forces Defender trains his way to Homeland Security

    104th Fighter Wing Defenders Train Base Personnel on the M4

    Photo By Master Sgt. Lindsey Watson | Senior Airman Stephen A. Lent, 104th Security Forces, Combat Arms Training and...... read more read more



    Story by Airman 1st Class Randall Burlingame 

    104th Fighter Wing/Public Affairs

    A high school graduate with dreams of becoming a chef enrolled in a Holyoke Community College law enforcement program as a backup plan.

    He realized how much he enjoyed law enforcement and found a job working armed security before eventually attending a part-time police academy in 2011. The Academy led to a career with the Ware Police Department.

    His interest in law enforcement continued to grow, and he enlisted in the Massachusetts Air National Guard with the 104th Fighter Wing in the munitions shop in 2013. He eventually followed his interest in law enforcement and cross-trained into the 104th Security Forces Squadron.

    The patient path Senior Airman Stephen A. Lent, 104th SFS Combat Arms Training and Maintenance instructor, paved for himself has recently led to a job offer from Homeland Security, and he said his training with security forces played a major role in him qualifying for the job.

    “The experience I got from Security Forces is pretty much parallel with what I’m going to do for Homeland,” said Lent. “With that job, it’s almost like being in Security Forces here, but it’s on the civilian side. One of the major hiring factors for Homeland was that I have the Security Forces Academy, which is a federally accredited academy. It’s the only military police out of all the branches that are federally accredited. That was a major benefactor to me getting the job.”

    According to Lent, becoming a CATM instructor required additional training to what Security Forces Airmen typically receive.

    “It’s a career field within a career field, essentially,” said Lent. “We’ll instruct a class of 100 people. It’s nerve-racking for a lot of people, but it gives you really good life experience. It helps with the supervisory skills and kind of how to be out of your shell.”

    The law enforcement enthusiast believes his time as an instructor will lend itself as good experience to his new job as a federal police inspector because he will be supervising multiple people on a daily basis.

    Lent, a native of Massachusetts, said he will be graduating in May with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Westfield State University and will travel to Georgia for the five-month federal law enforcement training academy later this year.

    He believes much of what he will be training on and be learning there will also be transferable to his career as a Security Forces Defender.

    “Being military police we don’t do state law, we do federal law,” said Lent. “I’ll be able to broaden my horizon on actual federal laws. In this academy, I’ll be learning all the federal laws that apply to civilians. The last two months of that five months will be the inspector school, which is pretty much what I do now. So it will definitely help here on drill weekends.”

    Lent believes the things he learns will benefit other Security Forces Airmen as he plans to share what he learns as insight with newer Airmen upon returning from the federal academy.

    Lent said that joining the military is something he has always wanted to do and he plans to stay with the 104th FW while working for Homeland Security.

    “That’s kind of the plan. Do homeland, do military part time, and when I’m 59 and a half I can retire from both," said Lent. "I can’t complain right now about anything.”

    The Security Forces Airman reflected on his journey to where he is now and said it feels great to have the security of his own.

    “It feels good knowing that I won’t have to worry,” said Lent. “I guess the past couple years I’ve been searching for something. People always tell you, it will all fall into place, but you never believe them until you wake up one day, and you’re in the military, you just got offered a job with homeland, and you have two degrees and a certificate. So it’s kind of surreal in its own way, and it’s a good feeling to know I have security the rest of my life essentially now I’ve just got to live it.”



    Date Taken: 05.18.2018
    Date Posted: 05.19.2018 08:19
    Story ID: 277635
    Location: WESTFIELD, MA, US 

    Web Views: 387
    Downloads: 0