Security Forces Vol III History Book Chapter Competition

Which Chapter Will Submit the Most Bios Winning a Defensor Fortis or AFSFA Flag?

Regional Directors and Chapter Chairs,

Due to the continued interest in the Air Force Security Forces history, the Air Force Security Forces Association and MT Publishing Company joined together to publish a third edition history book. The goal was to publish it in 2020. The intent was to have over 300 biographies of former and current Defenders in the book. Unfortunately, we are over 200 biographies short of that goal.

We have decided to hold a competition among the chapters to get us to our goal of 300. The competition period runs from 15 February to 30 September 2021.

The competition is based on the total number of biographies submitted by the chapter during that period and do NOT have to come from AFSFA members. Anyone who is or has ever been Air Police, Security Police or Security Forces can submit a biography. Those serving today at nearby units can be a great source of biographies. To compete though, the chapter must submit a minimum of 25 biographies. Individuals must indicate which chapter they are supporting for the competition.

Individuals can submit their biography and two (2) pictures by mail or electronically although electronic versions are preferred. There is absolutely no cost to submit a biography and two (2) pictures as long as the biography is 150 words or less. Biographies may be submitted without photographs and should be typed double-spaced on plain white paper or submitted electronically in a Word document. Typically biographies include name, rank, duties and duty locations, service dates, awards and medals received, and for retired or separated what you are doing today. Biographies over the 150 word limit cost 15 cents per word for each additional word. A check needs to accompany biographies over the 150 word limit. Ideally, the two pictures will include one picture early in the service period and a recent picture. Photocopies pictures cannot be used and all digital photos must be scanned at 300 dpi for submission. Low resolution photos cannot be used for the book and do NOT embed photos into the Word document.

For those physically mailing materials and wish to have them returned, ensure they write their name, address and phone number on the back of all material submitted and send it to: AFSFA, PO Box 683, Helotes, TX 78023-9998. You may also submit your biography via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. If you have questions about scanning or submitting digital files, please contact us at 210-277-0448. In submitting photos, please include a caption on the back of the photo with the date and an explanation of who or what is depicted. A book order is not required to submit material for inclusion in the publication.

So, the big question is, what does the winning chapter get? The winning chapter will win their choice of an AFSFA flag or the Defensor Fortis flag, which they can proudly display at chapter events.

Good luck in the competition chapters!
Joseph Rector
AFSFA Vice President


119th Wing Member Helps Woman Out of Sinking Ambulance

By CMSgt David H Lipp, 119th Wing / Published December 18, 2019, North Dakota ANGB, N.D.

Tech. Sgt. Ryan Fontaine, of the 219th Security Forces Squadron, unexpectedly found himself in the position to help save the life of a 91-year-old Williston, N.D., woman as he drove south on U.S. Highway 83 just before midnight on Thanksgiving, November 28, 2019, near Max N.D.

Fontaine was descending a hill on the icy four-lane highway near mile marker 179 when he noticed flashing lights several yards off the road on the west side to his right, and two vehicles on the shoulder.

 Ward County Sheriff Bob Roed, left, shakes hands with Tech. Sgt. Ryan Fontaine, of the 219th Security Forces Squadron, as Roed presents Fontaine with a certificate of courage and recognition coin during a ceremony at the Ward County Sheriff’s administration building Minot, N.D., Jan. 3, 2020. Fontaine is an off-duty, drill status North Dakota Air National Guard member that is being recognized for helping to save the life of a 91 year-old woman who was trapped in an ambulance that slid off U.S. Highway 83 and was sinking into a frozen pond the evening of Nov. 28, 2019. Woody Perez-Valdez, photo center, is also being recognized for his part in the rescue. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by David H. Lipp)

He stopped to investigate and noticed the flashing lights on an ambulance that was half-submerged in the frozen slough next to the road.

The three-person crew that had been in the ambulance escaped by breaking a side cab window with an ice scraper.  The cab of the ambulance was twisted due to the accident and passage was not possible from the back end to the front broken-out window.  The patient, Dolores Paulson, of Williston, N.D., was trapped inside the flooding ambulance.

The driver of one of the vehicles parked on the shoulder of the road was Kathy Paulson, the daughter of Dolores. Kathy, also from Williston, had been following the ambulance as it transported her mother from Williston to Bismarck, N.D., for a medical procedure and was speaking to 911 dispatch.

The ambulance crew members were working to get Dolores out, but were initially unable to break the windows with a fire extinguisher to get to her.

“A paramedic shouted at one point they had between a minute and a minute-and-a half to get mom out.  I thought at that point it would sink totally under the broken ice as less and less of the ambulance was showing.  I did not realize at the time, but the minute to minute-and-a half warning was due to hypothermia,” said Kathy.

They were finally able to break through the window of the ambulance using a jack from Fontaine’s personal vehicle.  Fontaine cleared glass from around the ambulance windows using the jack when he got close enough to the partially submerged vehicle.  Abdual-Jabbar, insisted on going back into the ambulance with Fontaine to rescue the patient they had been transporting.

A passerby, named Woody Valdez-Perez, provided a yellow tow-rope for Fontaine and Hasan Abdual-Jabbar to help them with the rescue efforts.

“The large chunks of ice in the water made it nearly impossible for anyone to swim in the water around the ambulance, but Abdul-Jabbar made it into the ambulance,” said Fontaine as he recalled the events of the rescue.

Once inside the ambulance, Abdual-Jabbar looped the tow rope around Dolores.

“Mom said she was then standing in water with ice chunks up to her armpits,” said Kathy.

Abdual-Jabbar eased her out, as Fontaine and Valdez-Perez pulled her across the icy water to safety.

“The whole thing probably took about 10 minutes from the time I got there, but it seemed like much longer,” Fontaine said.

Two additional ambulances, one from Garrison, N.D., and another from New Town, N.D., and several law enforcement vehicles began arriving and all of the people that were exposed to the frigid water got into vehicles to warm up. Dolores was placed in one of ambulances and the others were checked and treated for hypothermia if necessary, with all surviving.

“I noticed about four or five vehicles as they drove by when I first got there, and I am just glad a few of us stopped to help. I am not sure how much longer Dolores would have lasted in that cold water,” said Fontaine.

 "The selfless acts and quick thinking of these three (Abdual-Jabbar, Valdez-Perez and Fontaine) directly contributed to the survival of Dolores,” wrote Ward County Sherriff’s Sergeant Conrad Kossan in his accident report from the scene.

“The training I received through the military definitely helped me in this event. The command and control helped me to assess the situation and to stay calm and think through the process, and the self-aid and buddy care training helped me to come up with ways to help get Dolores to safety,” said Fontaine.

“Words cannot express my gratitude, my mother’s gratitude, as well as the gratitude of my entire family, for the brave and heroic action of Ryan, the ambulance crews, and all the passers-by who stopped to help. This truly was a total nightmare that had a very happy ending. Let it be known you are all heroes! This was one Thanksgiving we all will remember for a long, long time -- bless you all!” said Kathy Paulson.

377th SFG Unveils Renovated Heritage Room -- Showcases History of Defenders

By A1C Ireland Summers, 377th ABW Public Affairs, 9 March 2021

 U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ashley A. Kurtz, 377th Security Forces Group flight chief, presents new artifacts added to the 377th Security Forces Group Heritage Room on Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, March 5, 2021. The new updates include display cases with historical items such as uniforms worn during the Vietnam War, newspaper articles, vinyl photographs and a photographic timeline of the unit's history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers)


The 377th Security Forces Group unveiled renovations to their Heritage Room on Kirtland Air Force Base, March 5, 2021. 

The Heritage Room, which has been used since 1966 by defenders for guard mount, was updated with historical pieces and pictures to tell their story.

“When Airmen arrive in a new unit, they usually arrive with the mentality of learning to complete the mission and rarely get the opportunity to learn about, much less see, the history of the unit they are assigned,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ashley A. Kurtz, 377th SFG flight chief. “Airmen assigned to the 377th SFG are given a rare opportunity to view items on display [that were] worn and utilized by defenders once assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base.”

Kurtz, who was part of the team responsible for the idea and completion of the renovations, said that it was inspiring to see, read and understand the accomplishments of the defenders that came before her.

The updates to the heritage room include newly painted walls, display cases showcasing an MRE accessory packet and uniform items worn by a defender during the Vietnam War, newspaper articles, vinyl photographs and a photographic timeline of the unit's history.

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Brady L. McCoy, 377th SFG chief enlisted manager, spoke about what the Heritage Room means to him.

“To me, this room is a place where I can see where I came from,” said McCoy. “It is a place where heroes are represented. It gives me a chance to reflect on past missions as air police, security police and security forces. The room is a place to tell stories, share experiences across all ranks, active and retired, and see my roots in the Air Force.”

McCoy said that the Heritage Room allows future defenders to see where their legacy comes from and to see why they do what they do.

“Our story in the 377th SFG will now endure for many, many years to come,” said McCoy.

With the Heritage Room finished, the bunker will now undergo renovations that will be revealed at a later date.

Your 2021 AFSFA National Meeting in Nashville!

If you have never attended an AFSFA National Meeting this year’s in Nashville would be a great place to start! The Old Hickory Tennessee Chapter is our host and the 35th annual AFSFA National Meeting is shaping up to be one to remember. So let me see if I can entice you to join us this August with a general outline.

We will be based at The Inn at Opryland, 2401 Music Valley Drive, Nashville, TN 37214 from 18-22 August 2021. You may now call the Reservations Center at 1-800-901-4211 and mention Air Force Security Forces Association 35th National Reunion Meeting Room Block to reserve a room at our group rate. You can also go online at:  Members are allowed to book an additional 2 days before and after the meeting at the same rate.

If you click on the link above it will take you to our special group rate on the Inn at Opryland webpage. The reservation link allows them to book rooms over the dates of Sunday, 15 August 2021 thru Tuesday, 24 August 2021 (check-out on Wednesday, 25 August 2021). The room rates are guaranteed up to 16 July 2021, after that they may not be available.

The room rates are: $150.00 plus tax, for exterior rooms and $160.00 for interior rooms, single/ double occupancy in each room and includes a complimentary continental breakfast, free parking, free Wifi and complimentary shuttle service to Gaylord Opryland Resort, Grand Old Opry, Opry Mills Shopping & Dining Center and the General Jackson Showboat. Gaylord Airport Shuttle Service is $19.00 one-way or $35.00 round trip. Taxi is $25.00 one way.

One Man's Passion Leads to Successful Police Hiring Rate
24 February 2021, By Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News

It might take a village to raise a child, as the saying goes, but sometimes a single person can make a difference in something as large as the Defense Department's law-enforcement field.

The colleagues of Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Copper Jr. say he did just that when a need arose for a direct-hire authority to get civilian DOD peace officers around the world hired in a timely manner, and to make sure the law-enforcement mission continued without staff shortages. There are about 9,200 people in DOD law enforcement, excluding military police.

The lieutenant colonel was one of many Pentagon peace officers. He made sure the Air Force got the direct-hire authority when the issue first arose in 2018, and that authority has progressed DOD-wide because of his efforts, his colleagues said.

Copper passed away in August 2020. In December, he was posthumously awarded the first Law Enforcement Officer Certification because of his commitment to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, in addition to his work on the direct-hire authority. He was the Air Force commissioner of POST.

"Brian was a wonderful person and a great patriot; his enthusiasm was contagious. He is greatly missed." Shelley A. Verdejo, Director, Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission

Receiving his officer's commission in 2001 after military enlistment in 1989, Copper commanded squadrons within security forces at multiple locations throughout his career.

"He knew firsthand as a young airman and [non-commissioned officer] what it meant to be a law enforcement professional, and how important training was to those guys who are out there on the front lines. He had a unique perspective, having done it as an airman and then as a commander in a unit," Vince Heitmaan, senior law enforcement advisor to the office of the undersecretary of intelligence and security, said.

"Lt. Col Copper was very involved with making sure that all the partners within the department including [the military services] were all aware that we were pursuing this initiative, and that if we did it as a collective group, we'd have much more success," Jorge Vargasmorales, an action officer with the POST training and force development division, explained.

Copper, he noted, was quite instrumental in providing the points-of-contact that others collaborated with and they were able to obtain the DOD-wide hiring authority. The department-wide authority was issued in September 2020.

"Our goal is to make this a permanent direct-hire authority that will be included in the national defense," Vargasmorales explained, adding there are also 26 members of the law enforcement caucus in Congress. "When they were made aware [of the direct-hire authority], they were excited and had significant interest to make sure that these types of efforts become [reality]," he said of the caucus.

Among the military services, hiring and retention issues fell to the wayside, Vargasmorales added. It now takes about 86 days to hire a peace officer, and the fastest hire took only 50 days.

Dedicated to the direct-hire authority for use throughout the DOD, Copper was intimately involved in the effort and attended meeting after meeting to make sure the authority came to fruition, his colleagues said.

"He was a unique individual," Vargasmorales said. "He was passionate about everything. Whenever he put his effort behind something, it was always all or nothing with him. On the [direct-hire authority], he was instrumental in educating senior leaders, too."

Copper, he noted, could translate what is traditionally a very complex process in simple, understandable, bite sizes for leaders, he said.

"He was always the person who was an inclusion guy," Vargasmorales said. "He was really big on making sure that we all knew what each other was doing. He was always very open to expanding the conversation."

Cooper could light up a room when he entered. "We felt Brian exuded all of the things we would want law enforcement officers in the Department of Defense to be," Shelley A. Verdejo, POST director and chief of the law enforcement division in USD (I&S), said. "Brian was a wonderful person and a great patriot; his enthusiasm was contagious. He is greatly missed."

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