News: US forces establish security, friendships at Aeroexpo
Story by Senior Airman Natasha Stannard
MARRAKECH, Morocco -- Members of the 818th Contingency Response Group security forces team and security augmentees hit the flightline with the Royal Moroccan armed forces to ensure the safety and security of U.S. aircraft at the Aeroexpo Marrakech here.
“We came down here early to establish a secure area for the aircraft and get a leg up on security for the show,” said Tech. Sgt. Bruce Herrington, 818th CRG force protection flight chief.
The Aeroexpo is April 4-7 and features military aircraft from around the globe to include U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles, a C-130J Super Hercules, KC-135 Stratotanker, C-17 Globemaster III and U.S. Army UH-72A Lakota.
The security team’s mission for the entirety of the show is to work with Royal Moroccan Armed Forces to ensure U.S. aircraft are safe by keeping a watchful eye on them 24 hours a day.
“We have a security response teams on the ground for twelve hour shifts to secure the aircraft and detect and deter threats,” Harris said.
The team not only secures the aircraft, but gets curious aircraft-enthusiasts the answers they need by acting as liaisons between the crowd and aircrew.
“A lot of people have questions and if we can’t answer them we’ll get them the people who can,” Herrington said. “Our mission here is to establish security and build partnerships -- to be a presence of security, but also establish bonds with the different militaries here.”
According to Master Sgt. Scott Vermiere, U.S. Air Forces Africa fly-away security team program manager, without this team’s presence, Air Force members would lose more than aircraft security. They would lose opportunities to build relations with partnering nations.
“This team is doing a great job of ensuring security is established” said Master Sgt. Scott Vermeire, U.S. Air Forces Africa fly-away security team program manager. “People are curious and want to see the aircraft, so if the security team wasn’t here it would be up to the aircraft crews to mitigate crowd control and that’s not their job here. Their job is to answer questions about their aircraft and interact with the local community and military.”
Thanks to this 24-hour operational security, the aircrew was able to establish bonds with Morrocan locals like Mouhssine Cherkaoui, who came to the show to see the F-15.
As Cherkaoui gathered his camera equipment to head to another display he said, “I hope to see the U.S. Air Force here more because we’re all friends. It was nice to have them here today and learn about their aircraft.”