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December 8th, 2017



Civilian guards keep Ellsworth safe, secure

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, SD -- The new uniform securing Ellsworth’s gates allows base security forces members to intensely train and regularly deploy. But not to worry — the civilian guards are well trained to provide the base with safety and security.

The civilians assuming the guard responsibilities are employed by Akal Security Incorporated. They’re trained to provide the base with entry control. Entry control consists of monitoring and allowing vehicle access, as well as searching commercial traffic, said Lt. Col. David Koontz, 28th Security Forces Squadron commander.

Many of the civilian guards heard of the job through an ad in the paper.

After applying and interviewing, those hired for the positions went through a total of 70 hours of training at the security forces training room on base. The guards were trained for 30 hours by an approved Akal trainer. At that time, the guards learned many new skills: conflict management, vehicle searches, wea-pons of mass destruction training, self defense and defensive tactics to name a few.

The civilian guards then received 40 hours of training by Air Force security forces. At that time, they learned authority and jurisdiction, anti-terrorism, searching and handcuffing, installation-entry control, and each had to qualify on standards established by the Air Force on 9 mm pistol qualifications.

Prior to the arrival of the civilian guards, security forces spent the majority of their time guarding the gates.

“This was problematic because the base needed the security forces to be available to guard the gates, therefore the base was unable to provide a set number of Sercurity Forces Airmen to deploy; now we can,” said Colonel Koontz.

Additionally, teams of security forces preparing to deploy would attend 17 days of formal training at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. While at Nellis, the Airmen would practice combat patrols, tactical skills, building sweeps and other tasks that are required of them while deployed.

In the past, after this training, the security forces Airmen would return to Ellsworth to guard the gate until deployed, said Colonel Koontz.

Now that the civilians have taken on the responsibility of guarding the gate, once the security forces team returns to the base, the Airmen can continue their training.

“This allows [deploying security forces Airmen] to develop as a team,” said Colonel Koontz. This is one of the many benefits the new gate guards provide.

Now that the civilian guards have completed the extensive training, the guards and base personnel are enjoying interacting with each other.

“I’m not a pencil pusher; I’m too high strung for that. I’m a people person and I like doing a good job and keeping the base secure,” said Ms. Tracy Crecelius, access control officer.

“I make everyday fun, and I get a good response from people because I’m funny,” she added.

“The civilian gate guards are fitting in very well. We’re glad to have them here,” said Colonel Koontz.