News: Elmendorf airman defends Bagram Air Field
Story by Senior Airman Patrick McKenna
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - Airman 1st Class Maria Lopez is currently deployed to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, and is a member of the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron.
Back in the states, she’s stationed at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, and is
assigned to the 673rd Security Forces Squadron.
While deployed to Bagram, Lopez works the overnight shift and is posted at one of several watch towers in her sector. She is the first line of defense in the event insurgents try to breach the base’s perimeter.
“We have good technology that helps us monitor our sectors, but we still have to be vigilant,” Lopez said. “The chances of an enemy attack are greater at night, but we’re always alert. We’ve done a good job defending Bagram.”
Lopez’s favorite part of being a defender is the range in weapons she’s been able to fire and become qualified on. Specifically, she is
qualified on the .50 caliber machine gun, and she joked that one of the reasons she enjoys that particular weapon so much is because of the adrenaline rush firing it brings.
“I’m a short person, and behind the .50, I feel like I have a lot of
power,” Lopez said as she smiled.
What she misses most about home is spending time with her mother and littler sister. Once her deployment is complete, she’s looking forward to returning home, seeing them and eating some sushi.
The 455 ESFS is responsible for the security on Bagram Air Field and the more than 30,000 service members and civilians that are assigned here. They stand watch in dozens of guard towers, check the credentials of thousands of local civilians gaining access each day, and protect one of the busiest flightlines in the world. These airmen work with civilians, service members from other branches of the military, as well as international partners like South Korean military police to defend Bagram Air Feld 24 hours a day.