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Security forces face unique challenge at remote CONUS location

CAVALIER AIR FORCE STATION, N.D. --

Serving at a remote base offers Airmen unique challenges, and that’s no exception for security forces at Cavalier Air Force Station, North Dakota. It’s not that the work itself differs substantially from security forces duties at other bases. It’s that they complete their duties with a small number of personnel.

Tech Sgt. James Hodge, 10th Space Warning Squadron non-commissioned officer in charge of plans and programs handles electronic security at Cavalier, from hand scans to badges and more. When the systems he manages need maintenance, he’s the point of contact for the contractors.

“And then on top of that, we get hit with other jobs, such as security managers, anti-terrorism officers, anti-terrorism representatives,” said Hodge. “One of our other cops has been tasked as the research advisor as well.”

“So all of us have probably more than five different roles that we're fulfilling,” said Master Sgt.

Aron Luna, 10th SWS superintendent of security forces.

However, members of the 10th SWS security forces team have backup. Air Force Space Command funds positions that are filled by Airmen from Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, which is 80 miles away. Teams of 12 travel to Cavalier to provide security for several days at a time before returning to Grand Forks.

Hodge said the Cavalier team is always pushing to make sure these Airmen are appreciated and supported. Recently, his team upgraded the beds and recliners and arranged housing so these Airmen don’t have to share a room while they’re at Cavalier.

“It's giving our cops more time off to be resilient, innovative Airmen,” said Hodge. “It helps us out here as well, because they're not burnt out. When they're coming out here, they want to be out here. Just like anybody else, we need to have that downtime.”

Hodge said working at Cavalier has its perks. He and his family are enthusiastic about hunting, and the remote location offers easy access to pristine wilderness. Luna says he appreciates the small-town feel of the base and the closeness of the community there.

“You’re definitely heard a lot more,” said Luna. “You have the commander’s ear any time you need it and you don’t get that at big bases.”

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