by Senior Airman Benjamin Stratton
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
8/29/2013 – SOUTHWEST ASIA — The basic goal of a security forces specialist is to protect U.S. Air Force people, property and resources. While defenders have hand-to-hand combat training, their effectiveness is only enhanced by the weapons they carry and without the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron armory here, these weapons would not be a part of their tool kits.
“The purpose of the armory is to hold all of the defender’s weapons and supplies they need to perform their duties on a day-to-day basis,” said Airman 1st Class Jillian Ward, 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron staff armorer. “My duty at the armory is to arm up all the defenders.”
Much like services Airmen account for all the food served on base, armory Airmen account for all the weapons, ammunition and any extra supplies and equipment defenders may need to keep the base safe and secure. When they first come on shift, Ward said they conduct changeover tasks with the last shift making sure they know exactly what has been issued and what is now being placed in their care.
“We have to take accountability of all the equipment in the armory, such as weapons, ammo, night vision goggles, etc.,” said Ward, who is deployed from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, and hails from Sunbury, Ohio. “We have to keep track of everything issued and turned in on equipment trackers.”
These equipment trackers, she said, are then scanned into their computers and organized into folders for reference later.
“Once everything is accounted for, we setup all the windows so we can do issue and turn in in a timely fashion,” Ward said explaining the quicker they get issue the weapons, the quicker they can get on post and relieve that post’s last shift.
“I like it, it’s a good job to have,” Ward continued. “It’s good to know we are helping them out and supporting the flight by giving them what they need to go out there and do their job.”
Ward’s coworker, Senior Airman Jamela Nuriddin, said she also enjoys being a part of such an important mission.
“I am part of the wing’s vital protection mission,” Nuriddin said, who is deployed from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., and a Raleigh, N.C., native. “If we weren’t here, everything in the security forces mission realistically wouldn’t run. Airmen need weapons to fight, radios to talk and night vision devices to be able to see during nighttime conditions.”
Everyone sees the defenders on post protecting the base, but it’s the armorers who enable that mission.
“We’re the behind the scenes step to the mission,” continued Nuriddin. “We make sure everything is ready for when the flights need to go out, accomplish the mission and defend the base.”