Why Security Forces?

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Last February I arrived here after commissioning through the Officer Training School, and I had no idea what to expect.

I had been a proud enlisted member in the medical career field for the previous 14 years, but this was going to be different. As I transitioned to the officer corps, I entered the security forces career field and was expected to lead a flight of roughly 50 Airmen -- not just supervise a few personnel as I had done in the past.

I was prepared by what I learned from my previous supervisors and commanders, both good and bad, what to do and what not to do, but as I stood in front of my flight for the first time, I had a sense of nervousness due to this new level of responsibility bestowed upon me. A room full of motivated Airmen was looking at me, expecting me to be their leader and show them the way forward.

I asked myself: "What do I know about leading cops?"

Everyone thought I was crazy. Leading up to my first day in the 90th Security Forces Squadron, I was commonly asked, "Why do you want to be Security Forces?"

When I think about Security Forces, I think about proud and professional Airmen. I think about Airmen that work long and seemingly thankless hours to stand vigilant in temperatures ranging from -30 to 130 degrees all over the world. I think about Airmen that will still have a smile on their face when you drive through the gate regardless of the time of day or the temperature outside. I think about the security of our installation and the protection of its people and assets. I think about a team that I want to be a part of. I think about a team that I am now proud to be a part of.

That is why I chose Security Forces.

I know that Security Forces Airmen are not the only military members who work long hours in austere conditions. Every Airman contributes to the mission, no matter what job. It is the job of those in leadership positions, whether a seasoned NCO or brand new second lieutenant, to lead Airmen to execute the Air Force mission.

While the career field was new to me and I was learning the technical aspects of my job, I realized that leading cops was no different than leading anyone else. Leaders need to lead from the front and lead by example.

There is a difference between being a boss and being a leader. Leaders inspire and guide their people to get the mission done and to become leaders themselves. No matter what the problem, a leader gets it done by creating that example to follow and being that person to look up to.

A boss just tasks and orders their people around; they can use fear as a tactic to get the job done. Anyone can be a boss. A boss might get the task done, but a leader will get it done with high morale, good attitudes and positive results because a leader inspires their people.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said it best: "Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership."

I learn something from my flight every day. From the lowest ranking Airman to my flight chief, they are constantly teaching me something, and while leading them, they are also making me a better leader.

By being a leader versus being a boss, you'd be amazed at what your Airmen can do, the level of responsibility they have taken on and how proud they are to play such a critical role in the United States Air Force. HUA!