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There I Was...Life as a force protection team member

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cornelius A. Bransah
  • 6th Medical Group
There I was standing with pillow in hand, backpack strapped, duffle bag in the dirt by my side, and in my view were tents, more dirt and all new faces around me.

Actually, let's rewind two months back to my home base.

I recall the day I got my tasking clear as ever...

It was another beautiful morning at the 6th Medical Group and I had just finished a physical health assessment for a patient when my NCOIC asked to speak to me. She informed me that I had been tasked to deploy as a member of the Force Protection team. I couldn't believe my ears! I had been hoping for the opportunity to deploy for quite some time.

So there I was, at my deployed location getting my in-processing documents in order, when two members of the FP flight introduced themselves and escorted me and a few other personnel to our living quarters.

As a member of the FP team, your main duties are to escort and ensure the security of contracted workers and the base. FP members are also responsible for maintaining accountability of how many contracted workers enter and exit the base on a daily basis. FP is the first line of defense for contractors coming onto the base. Without these contractors, the base can't function. The contractors perform tasks such as cooking, removing over a thousand pounds of waste, constructing and maintaining buildings, and cleaning all base facilities.

After completing my in-processing and training, I was tasked with my first detail the very next day. I was paired up with another FP member who is actually stationed at MacDill and deployed the same day I did. We were responsible for the security of five workers who were tasked with installing doors at the base clinic.

There are over 11 different details that you can get assigned to as a member of the FP flight. Regardless of the job we are assigned, it is our responsibility to safeguard personal identifiable information and keep contracted workers in our sights at all times. We are also responsible for their well-being while in our custody.

Majority of these contractors can be very pleasant to work with. Each one of them has an incredible story if you are willing lend them an ear. They especially like it when you attempt to speak their language. I enjoy learning new languages so it was a good trade off.

The one thing I missed more than anything was my friends and family. I missed interacting with my coworkers on a daily basis as well. I made a lot of good friends during my deployment, some of whom I still keep in touch with.

There were certain things that made me feel at home and kept me going. My girlfriend would constantly send me care packages containing snacks, letters and clothes. We also spoke to each other on a daily basis. My supervisor went above and beyond for me and sent a memory foam for my bed. I still think it was one of the best gifts I received while deployed.

My supervisor has always been there for me and is always eager to help me improve and excel in all that I do. She is a great supervisor and mentor. I enjoyed my deployment and would definitely do it again if I received the chance.