BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan --
The security forces Airmen here are on the front lines of mission success, defending the busiest airfield in the country and ensuring the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing delivers decisive airpower.
Senior Airman Maria Joyce, 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Echo sector command controller, is one of those Airmen, ensuring the unit’s personnel are positioned properly to provide the most effective security on the flight line. Joyce is deployed from the 96th Security Forces Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
“I work as an Echo sector command controller,” said Joyce. “I dispatch and make sure everyone is in position if we get hit with indirect fire or if an aeromedical evacuation arrives.”
For Joyce, her day usually consists of reporting to base defense operations center, or the echo sector command post, and making sure everything is accounted for; making sure all the posts are where they are supposed to be, making sure they are accomplishing their random antiterrorism measures.
As a force multiplier, Joyce also can be posted as a quick response team member.
“As a QRT member, I make sure everything is safe for my team to perform the mission of securing the flight line,” said Joyce.
Capt. Kyle Morgan, 455th ESFS director of operations, said Joyce is currently manning a position well above her current rank.
"Joyce is responsible for command and control of 13 posts and patrols assigned to secure personnel, property, and assets within Echo Sector,” said Morgan. “She facilitates communication with the combined joint defense operation center allowing the battle captain to receive real time information of the status of airfield operations and dedicates her off time to rewriting quick reaction checklists to make Echo Sector Security Forces more combat effective.”
Hailing from Chicago, Joyce originally joined the Air Force to pursue and take advantage of the education benefits.
“Originally, I joined for education reasons,” said Joyce. “But as I got into the security forces career field, I noticed there were things and opportunities that presented themselves and allowed me to gain knowledge I normally would not have ventured into on my own.”
Deploying can be stressful for any Airmen, but the bond between defenders eases the stress, helping them get through trying times.
“My first thought when I found out I was deploying had me a little bit of concern, because I wasn’t exactly sure what the current situation was in Afghanistan,” said Joyce. “Once I did my research about our mission here, it made me a little bit more comfortable to know I had my brothers and sisters here fighting the good fight with me.”
The security forces mission statement is to protect, defend and fight to enable Air Force, joint and coalition missions.
According to Morgan, it is essential to maintain "air minded" security forces members to create a safe and secure environment that allows BAF to project airpower throughout the region and ensure air operations are capable of supporting ground forces in the area of responsibility.
Joyce said her job here was important because it is the 455th ESFS job to protect all assets on the flight line.
According to Joyce, her job as an Echo sector command controller specifically affects the mission, because you can’t operate without an operator.
“If the 455th ESFS wasn’t here, we would not have any flight line protection,” said Joyce. “Defenders, even home station, live and breathe flight line security. We are made and bred for it. If we weren’t here, the 455th AEW could not defend, support and deliver airpower.”