86th SFS first-term Airman defends, protects, empowers

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Holly Mansfield
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Editors Note: This is the first of a three part series about first-term Airmen working different jobs at Ramstein.

For some Airmen fresh out of technical school, stepping out of an aircraft onto foreign soil can bring a blanket of silence and terror upon them. Knowing they are going to be part of the Air Force's premier installation could put added pressure on them, but first-term Airmen of team Ramstein mold themselves into competent, reliable and responsible service members.

When being stationed at a base to work for a large wing with a lot of responsibilities, first-term Airmen take on tasks that are high priority. Duties like guarding and checking identification cards at the gate or patrolling any of the military installations in the Kaiserslautern Military Community is a major part of securing the safety of service members, civilians and resources throughout the area.

"We get a bad stigma as cops, but I feel we help a lot of people here," said Airman 1st Class Christian Kampe, 86th Security Forces Squadron defender. "We protect all the military personnel and their families in the KMC by performing entry control and various other activities."

Having the responsibility of protecting more than 50,000 American military members and their families in the KMC can cause stress for many security forces defenders, but for Airmen like Kampe, seeing the benefits of being a defender makes the job enjoyable.

"I love my job because there's literally no other career field that allows me to do so much," said Kampe. "It's a lot of fun and varies each day."

Along with duties at work, Kampe and other first-term Airmen are active in the community and academics.

"I've done as many certifications for my job as I can while being an A1C," said Kampe. "Before joining the Air Force I was attending college and I hope to continue with my education once I complete my upgrade training but for now I spend a lot of time volunteering around Ramstein."

Getting as many certifications as possible early in his career has put Kampe above most first-term Airmen, certifying for a job that is usually given to NCOs showed security forces leadership that he is committed.

"He is an outstanding member of the 86th Airlift Wing team, who recently completed his certification as a base defense operations center controller," said Master Sgt. Scott Brown, 86th Security Forces Squadron alpha flight, flight chief. "Having him complete this certification, which is normally accomplished by ranking senior airmen or staff sergeants, as an A1C is unheard of and is a great testament to his dedication."

More responsibilities are required of base defense operations center controllers, who work in the hub of the security forces squadron; they must be able to communicate to other agencies during emergency situations.

"The base defense operations center is the nerve center of security forces," said Kampe. "Whoever is the BDOC controller is the number one in command during an emergency situation on this base. They coordinate with command post, fire fighters and medics."

Communication with other agencies puts a lot of demand on first-term Airmen in security forces, but with the help of teamwork they are able to complete the job.

"The majority of people I work with are first-term Airmen," said Kampe. "With security forces there is a lot of responsibility for new Airmen, but the ones I know are very effective at what they do. We work very well together and we get the job done."

Being an important part of such a large mission, first-term Airmen help provide world-class security to support over one-third of all U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa civilian and military personnel stationed in Europe.

"First-term Airman are an essential part of the 86th SFS accomplishing the Air Force mission from controlling entry onto the installation to standing guard to billions in U.S. and NATO assets," said Brown. "This just covers the home station mission and does not begin to touch on our numerous deployment requirements, which spans three combatant commands."

Working hard and effectively at a large base means Airmen like Kampe have a huge impact on the day-to-day missions of different organizations, such as USAFE-AFAFRICA and NATO's Allied Air Component Command Headquarters Ramstein.

"First-term Airmen assigned to the 86th SFS have a huge impact here at Ramstein Air Base," said Brown. "With USAFE-AFAFRICA, 3rd Air Force, NATO's Allied Air Component Command Headquarters Ramstein and various military and civilian tenant agencies working here, they are the very first impression people have of the base. The 86th SFS Airmen know this and take pride in our professionalism and our ability to defend Ramstein, ensuring successful execution of air, space and cyber operations."