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    163d Security Forces defenders deploy in support of Northern California fires

    163d Security Forces defenders deploy in support of Northern California fires

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Crystal Housman | Members of the 163d Security Forces Squadron, 163d Attack Wing, California Air...... read more read more



    Story by Airman Michelle Ulber 

    163rd Attack Wing

    MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. – The 163d Attack Wing’s Security Forces Squadron (163d SFS) joined the fight against the Mendocino Complex Fire, deploying July 30, 2018, to assist with emergency evacuations in Lake County.

    A group of the squadron’s Airmen, from March Air Reserve Base, California, activated with security forces personnel during a Tier 1-level response effort by California Air National Guard units, including the 146th Airlift Wing, Channel Islands Air National Guard Station; the 144th Fighter Wing, Fresno; and the 129th Rescue Wing, Moffett Air National Guard Base, to evacuate residents threatened by the rapidly encroaching blaze, manage traffic control points, and augment local law enforcement.

    “We’re proud to serve to ensure the safety of the people,” said Staff Sgt. Sal Rincon, a former Marine infantryman now in his 18th year of military service. “If our citizens know that there are other Californians willing to go help and serve their neighbors, and if that helps them in any way feel comfort and safety, then I am proud to be one of the people to step forward and make that sacrifice.”

    The squadron activated in similar support roles for three fires in 2017, including December’s Thomas Fire, which destroyed more than 1,000 structures in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

    “We didn’t know what to expect at last year’s fire in Ventura,” said Airman 1st Class Ricardo Vasquez, who joined the 163d SFS two years ago, just out of high school, for the “life experience” and the transformational effect he’d seen in a friend who’d joined the military before him. “I got excited by the interaction. Many people came to thank us. It felt good, and rewarding.”

    Vasquez said that if he were in the same situation as the Lake County residents, he “would pray that someone would come to my family’s aid.”

    The 163d Attack Wing has been battling the California wildfires, in the air and on the ground, nearly continuously since the beginning of July. The Mendocino Complex fire—so called when the River and Ranch fires suddenly converged—had burned nearly 32,000 acres, destroyed 10 homes and was only 38% contained as of August 1, according to CAL FIRE.

    -Senior Master Sgt. Stanley Thompson contributed to this story.



    Date Taken: 08.01.2018
    Date Posted: 08.03.2018 17:45
    Story ID: 287226

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