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    Hawaii ANG Defenders Named Top Security Forces Air Reserve Component Unit in U.S. Air Force

    Hawaii ANG Defenders Named Top Security Forces Air Reserve Component Unit in U.S. Air Force

    Photo By Roann Gatdula | U.S. Air Force Maj. Allison Delos Santos, 154th Security Forces Squadron commander,...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. John Linzmeier 

    154th Wing, Hawaii Air National Guard

    Hawaii Air National Guard defenders from the 154th Security Forces Squadron have earned national accolades, securing the 2023 Security Forces Air Reserve Component Unit Award.

    This recognition comes at both the National Guard Bureau level and the Air Force level, highlighting the squadron's exemplary achievements in security operations, international collaboration, and community support.

    The prestigious award recognizes exceptional security forces units that have demonstrated outstanding achievements in areas such as mission support, air base ground defense operations, and impact toward security.

    “2023 was an extremely successful roller coaster ride for the unit,” said Senior Master Sgt. Ryan Schreiner, 154th SFS logistics and readiness senior enlisted leader. “It was a year that warranted support from families, leadership, and the various support functions of the Wing (shout out to Aunty Lorna). All three ensured we thrived. Families kept us grounded, leadership kept us focused and support functions reminded us that our families were good to go, our service was appreciated and a safe place to decompress existed with them.”

    As the year kicked off, 154th SFS members were already engaged in a major international defense operation in the Africa Area of Responsibility. From August 2022 through May 2023, deployed defenders collaborated with forces from 13 host nations in Operation Juniper Shield. Armed personnel protected more than 1 billion dollars of warfighting assets and conducted more than 30 joint combat patrols beyond installation boundaries.

    Their contribution to the Anti-terrorism Force Protection mission in the region during the same period ensured the safe travel of military and U.S. contract personnel, protecting over 30,000 U.S. military, contractor, and coalition personnel, and safeguarding billions of dollars in high-value assets.

    A pivotal and defining moment of the 154th's achievements came through their exceptional response to the most devastating wildfire in Hawaii's history, which struck Lahaina, Maui. From August 12 to December 31, during a period of profound crisis, the squadron mobilized alongside federal and civilian law enforcement agencies. Their concerted efforts resulted in the protection of more than 3,000 structures and secured 9.3 square miles, offering crucial support to the community's recovery process.

    “The response to the Lahaina wildfire was a resounding success if you look at the team’s preparedness, deployment, and integration with federal and local enforcement agencies," said Chief Master Sgt. Ricardo Namoca, 154th SFS security forces manager. “A textbook displayed of remarkable coordination and efficiency on both sides. Some of our defenders have very close ties to Lahaina. Collectively it felt more of a responsibility to help rather than a job.”

    Their efforts ensured the safety of over 9,000 residences was made possible by the squadron’s high level of mission readiness and commitment to public safety and disaster response. Moreover, the squadron's collaboration with six federal and local law enforcement agencies accommodated a short-notice visit by the President of the United States to Lahaina demonstrating their ability to rapidly establish complex security operations in support of a national initiative.

    Throughout 2023, the squadron's involvement in community and base activities showcases their commitment to service beyond their security duties. Volunteer Airmen provided lead security for the Hawaii National Guard-hosted 2023 Adjutant General Association of the United States Conference. Members also supported the Hawaii Police Department's annual Elementary School Junior Traffic Police Officer Competition and participated in the Show With A Hero holiday event and the Toys for Tots Hawaii program.

    These initiatives, coupled with their contribution to the Family Fun Halloween event in Lahaina, illustrate the squadron’s dedication to fostering community spirit and support, especially in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire.

    Defenders tackle the unique challenge of shifting among varied roles within one career field—law enforcement, riot control, active shooter education, to jungle defense—all requiring distinct mindsets, rules, and equipment. According to Schreiner, the potential for grave errors looms if disciplines are confused, emphasizing the necessity for adaptability. He noted that this adaptability doesn’t come easily, but 154th SFS Airmen sought out this line of work, because they know it’s not easy.

    “I believe character gives them the strength to overcome,” said Shreiner. “Their character drove them to pick a [career field] that works long hours, is physically demanding and results in Regularly Scheduled Drills that leave you filthy and exhausted. It takes specific characteristics to volunteer for that, and I believe that is where most of our Defenders derive strength, it's who they are.”

    The 154th SFS’s multifaceted achievements, from leading critical international operations to providing essential community support, exemplify the highest standards of the Air Force Security Forces. Their recognition with the 2023 Air Force Security Forces Unit Award is a fitting example of their exceptional performance and steadfast commitment to both national security and community resilience.

    “The Security Forces career field is far from glamorous to say the least; gratifying only to those dedicated to serve and protect,” said Namoca. “Our culture fosters mutual support and a deep sense of
    responsibility towards each other, serving as our collective strength and driving force to overcome any challenge. I couldn’t be more proud of how our team worked together to accomplish so much this past year.”


    Date Taken: 04.12.2024
    Date Posted: 04.15.2024 19:24
    Story ID: 468486

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