Augmentee program supports SFS mission, develops multi-capable Airmen

  • Published
  • By Lauren Russell
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The 66th Security Forces Squadron recently completed a two-month rotation of the installation’s augmentee program to fulfill the base defense mission. 

More than 25 enlisted and officers from the 66th Air Base Group and program offices here supplemented defenders in their mission to secure the installation.

According to Capt. Chris McEachran, 66 SFS operations officer, the augmentee program has been applied in the past to support mission requirements when needed. 

“We reached a point where we needed to flex and look to our multi-capable Airmen to leverage our needs,” he said. 

Airmen are added to the augmentee program’s pool of candidates when they arrive on station. While some may never be activated to support the defenders, the roster remains prepared.

“Participating augmentees underwent basic security forces training, including exposure to the taser, [pepper spray], small-unit tactics, as well as general exposure to law enforcement,” said Senior Master Sgt. Calvin McCrillis, 66 SFS operations superintendent.

Once training was complete, the augmentees took on nearly all the duties of their defender counterparts, including manning the gates, driving patrol, and conducting vehicle searches.

“I didn’t fully understand the weight of their responsibilities until I was at the gate with them,” said Senior Airman Kenneth Pedres, 66th Comptroller Squadron financial operations technician. “I have a whole new appreciation for our security forces.”

Pedres took on night shift gate duty throughout his time in the SF squadron. Aside from broadening his professional experience, he said he also built connections with his wingmen.

“There wasn’t a moment I didn’t enjoy. The defenders treat each other like family, just like we do in the comptroller squadron,” he said. “I would jump at the opportunity to augment again.”

As some augmentees came from the Hanscom AFB acquisition community, Maj. Brandon Casso, 66 SFS commander, noted that SFS defenders now have a better understanding of that mission, aligning with the ABG’s line of effort to Build Better Airmen.

“This experience has not only enriched our knowledge of the acquisition mission but also broadened our perspective, making us more effective guardians of our nation,” he said.

The defenders noted that the augmentee program can only be successful with the support of leaders across the base.

“It’s not a small ask to take Airmen away from their other duties, so the support from the other organizations on base has been the biggest catalyst to this program’s success,” said McCrillis.

Hanscom AFB’s top cop ultimately recognized each of the 25 augmentees with Air Force Achievement Medals.

“Devoting their time and effort to protecting this installation with outstanding professionalism, positive attitudes, and an open mind is something that should be celebrated,” said Casso. “The augmentees came to us as Airmen and left as Blue Knights.”