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Wing members fill gaps oversees, at home

Airman 1st Class Nichole Knight, security forces, instructs Staff Sgt. Virgil Brandy, augmentee, on the eight preconditions for use of deadly force. Sergeant Brandy is one of several part-time Guardsmen who have taken temporary full-time positions to augment the 162nd Security Forces Squadron at Tucson International Airport while 31 regular members are deployed to Iraq. Prior to his temporary assignment Brandy served in the wing’s disaster preparedness section. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jordan Jones)

Airman 1st Class Nichole Knight, security forces, instructs Staff Sgt. Virgil Bandy, augmentee, on the eight preconditions for use of deadly force. Sergeant Bandy is one of several part-time Guardsmen who have taken temporary full-time positions to augment the 162nd Security Forces Squadron at Tucson International Airport while 31 regular members are deployed to Iraq. Prior to his temporary assignment Bandy served in the wing’s disaster preparedness section. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jordan Jones)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- It wasn't a typical Security Forces troop checking IDs at the gate that cold January morning - it was an augmentee.

When 31 members of the 162nd Security Forces Squadron (SFS) deployed to Iraq Jan. 2, members of the 162nd Fighter Wing and surrounding military installations stepped in to help the remaining security forces Airmen.

For Airman 1st Class David Cisneras working the gate is a privilege. "They are putting their lives on the line, so the least I can do is help take care of things here while they are gone," he said.

Cisneras is a drill-status Guardsman (DSG), serving as a medical technician one weekend per month and two weeks per year. He's also a student at Pima Community College. He says augmenting the squadron is something that needs to be done and something he's proud to do.

"We can only hire 15 people to take the place of the 31 who deployed," said Senior Master Sgt. Mark Milbourn, SFS operations superintendent. "We are only authorized to backfill the positions that were held by full-time employees."

But filling even half of the vacant positions has been a challenge.

"Six of the positions had to be filled by DSG's in the security forces career field; the others were open for any military member. We only had five individuals volunteer in December when the announcement was first made," said Sergeant Milbourn. "There are another five scheduled to start January 22."

The augmentees receive four days of training including handcuffing, team movements, vehicle inspections, use of force, blood-born pathogens and weapons qualification for both the M-16 and M-9, said Master Sgt. Marvin Fox, SFS unit training manager.

Once trained, the augmentees will work 12 to 13 hours a day, four days a week until the deployed members return this summer, said Sergeant Milbourn. Most will man the front gate, checking IDs.