Dark Horse Association builds leadership and camaraderie

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jose L. Hernandez
  • Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

To the 791st Missile Security Forces Squadron, work commitment extends beyond just providing for the security of Team Minot's assets 24/7.

One need look no further than to the squadron's Dark Horse Association to see how Airmen within the unit truly take to heart the value of service before self.

Staff Sgt. Anthony Harmon, 791st MSFS support flight chief and president of the DHA, said the private organization is all about working together with the community to build camaraderie, all while focusing on self-improvement as well.

"I think one thing that makes the Dark Horse Association unique is we encourage and seek educational opportunities for our Airmen," Harmon said.

One of the more important initiatives they've taken up is coordinating with the Education Office and the Minot State University staff to help make classes available to flights as a whole.

"Sometimes we try to have instructors from MSU come teach an English or Criminal Justice class to an entire flight, which helps keep the Airmen involved in school," explained Harmon. Staggered work shifts the security personnel have, can at times make it difficult for Airmen to continue college courses.

The organization has also worked with the Airman and Family Readiness Office to help offer courses to Airmen which enhance their abilities in dealing with others and their personalities-- all this in preparation for them in becoming leaders in the near future.

Building leadership skills is crucial for all Airmen, which is why the organization works toward allowing younger Airmen to take the lead in heading up volunteer projects or serving as liaisons for other non-profit organizations.

One Airman in particular was responsible for 30 individuals for nine hours each day during four entertainment concerts at the North Dakota State Fair. Airman 1st Class Daniel Przybysz, 791st MSFS response force leader, served as supervisor for that particular project and was directly in charge of all individuals working both the entrance scanners and ushering.

"Managing everyone was stressful because I had to deal with disgruntled fair patrons, and as supervisor I had to run from one place to another wherever I was needed," said Przybysz.

I never thought non-commissioned officers had it so hard, said Przybysz. He added it was difficult to delegate and get things done all while making sure people got along and making everything enjoyable for everyone.

By placing him in a role as supervisor, he had the opportunity to see what it was like to be part of the higher echelon of the rank structure. During that time he was even in charge of NCO's in his squadron.
While he had to respect the NCO's and still get the job done, he said it was nice to see them relax and easily take a position of followership.

Whether it is volunteering at the soup kitchen, tops in blue events, supporting the Air Force Sergeants Association, Operation SafeRIDE, or at elderly care homes, the organization strives to instill a sense of camaraderie and relationship building with different communities.

"As we go out and volunteer more and more often, our organization's name gets out there to the community," said Harmon.

With the rapport that is built with the people all around, they have built a broad network and they get called up more often with requests for help.

Senior Airman Brian McAteer, 791st MSFS response force leader and the DHA's Red Cross liaison, said he loves the appreciation from people whenever he volunteers at different locations for the Red Cross.
He reminisced of times during last year's Souris River Flood in Minot.

"Wherever we delivered food, drinks and snacks to people helping, they would always thank us for coming out to help the community," said McAteer.

McAteer really enjoys the fact that they help the local Red Cross receive more funding because of the amount of work that they provide for them. Those statistics are elevated to their headquarters and it allows for more funding to come down.

"With some of these Airmen working 16 plus hours at a time," said Harmon. "To see them rack up so many work, volunteer and on top of that school hours is very impressive."