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Wright-Patt after dark: Security Forces never take eyes off base

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Aaron Benner, 88th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, conducts a drive-through patrol of base housing, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Aaron Benner, 88th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, conducts a drive-through patrol of base housing, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

88th Security Forces Squadron patrolmen U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Wagner and Airman 1st Class Ian Hunt man Gate 12A at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 16, 2021. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

88th Security Forces Squadron patrolmen U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Wagner and Airman 1st Class Ian Hunt man Gate 12A at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 16, 2021. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Iliana Arroyo, 88th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, loads a magazine into her M9 handgun, as Senior Airman Kyle Brown, 88th SFS base defense operations center controller, watches, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Iliana Arroyo, 88th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, loads a magazine into her M9 handgun, as Senior Airman Kyle Brown, 88th SFS base defense operations center controller, watches, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

Airmen with the 88th Security Forces Squadron, wait to receive their weapons from the armory prior to going to their posts at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 16, 2021. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

Airmen with the 88th Security Forces Squadron, wait to receive their weapons from the armory prior to going to their posts at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 16, 2021. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Matthew Martz, 88th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, receives his M-4 Carbine rifle from the armory prior to going to his post, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Matthew Martz, 88th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, receives his M-4 Carbine rifle from the armory prior to going to his post, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Swisher, 88th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations center controller, front, and Airman 1st Class Jadon Dix, 88th SFS entry controllers and alarm monitor, watch for incoming traffic at gate 19B, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Swisher, 88th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations center controller, front, and Airman 1st Class Jadon Dix, 88th SFS entry controllers and alarm monitor, watch for incoming traffic at gate 19B, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Swisher, 88th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations center controller, watches as a vehicle begins its approach to the gate as Airman 1st Class Jadon Dix, 88th SFS entry controllers and alarm monitor, prepares to remove a traffic cone at gate 19B, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Swisher, 88th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations center controller, watches as a vehicle begins its approach to the gate as Airman 1st Class Jadon Dix, 88th SFS entry controllers and alarm monitor, prepares to remove a traffic cone at gate 19B, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jadon Dix, 88th SFS entry controllers and alarm monitor, watches out the window of the guard shack for oncoming traffic at gate 19B, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jadon Dix, 88th SFS entry controllers and alarm monitor, watches out the window of the guard shack for oncoming traffic at gate 19B, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Aaron Benner, 88th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, conducts a drive-through patrol of base housing, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Aaron Benner, 88th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, conducts a drive-through patrol of base housing, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

88th Security Forces Squadron patrolmen U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Wagner and Airman 1st Class Ian Hunt check identification cards of people attempting to gain access to the base through gate 12A, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)
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88th Security Forces Squadron patrolmen U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Wagner and Airman 1st Class Ian Hunt check identification cards of people attempting to gain access to the base through gate 12A, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

88th Security Forces Squadron patrolmen U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Wagner, front, and Airman 1st Class Ian Hunt, watch for incoming traffic at gate 12A, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)
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88th Security Forces Squadron patrolmen U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Wagner, front, and Airman 1st Class Ian Hunt, watch for incoming traffic at gate 12A, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Wagner, 88th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, scans the identification of an individual attempting to gain access to the base, as Airman 1st Class Ian Hunt, 88th SFS patrolman, watches, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)
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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Wagner, 88th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, scans the identification of an individual attempting to gain access to the base, as Airman 1st Class Ian Hunt, 88th SFS patrolman, watches, March 16, 2021 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

Airmen from the 88th Security Forces Squadron line up in formation for Guard Mount prior to heading out for their shift at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 16, 2021. Guard mount is conducted at the start of a shift and may be used to conduct roll call, announcements, weapons and equipment inspections or post assignments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)
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Airmen from the 88th Security Forces Squadron line up in formation for Guard Mount prior to heading out for their shift at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 16, 2021. Guard mount is conducted at the start of a shift and may be used to conduct roll call, announcements, weapons and equipment inspections or post assignments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

Airmen from the 88th Security Forces Squadron line up in formation for Guard Mount as U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Harley Teets, 88th SFS mid-shift flight chief, relays information prior to them heading out for their shift at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 16, 2021. Guard mount is conducted at the start of a shift and may be used to conduct roll call, announcements, weapons and equipment inspections or post assignments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)
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Airmen from the 88th Security Forces Squadron line up in formation for Guard Mount as U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Harley Teets, 88th SFS mid-shift flight chief, relays information prior to them heading out for their shift at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 16, 2021. Guard mount is conducted at the start of a shift and may be used to conduct roll call, announcements, weapons and equipment inspections or post assignments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Iliana Arroyo, 88th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, loads a magazine into her M4 Carbine rifle, prior to going to her post at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 16, 2021. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)
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U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Iliana Arroyo, 88th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, loads a magazine into her M4 Carbine rifle, prior to going to her post at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 16, 2021. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

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U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Aaron Benner, 88th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, gives a tour of a patrol car, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 16, 2021. (U.S. Air Force video by Wesley Farnsworth)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- For many of the nearly 31,000 Airmen, civilians and contractors who work on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, their day ends late in the afternoon as they exit the installation and begin the journey home. 

For them, it’s mission complete. Some may even consider the base “closed” until it’s time to return the next day. 

88th Security Forces Squadron patrolmen U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Wagner and Airman 1st Class Ian Hunt man Gate 12A at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 16, 2021. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)
Wright-Patt after dark: Security Forces never take eyes off base
88th Security Forces Squadron patrolmen U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Wagner and Airman 1st Class Ian Hunt man Gate 12A at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, March 16, 2021. Security Forces members are responsible for providing base defense, as well as providing law enforcement on the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)
Photo By: Wesley Farnsworth
VIRIN: 210316-F-AV193-1086

However, units like the 88th Security Forces Squadron do not see it that way. It runs 24/7 operations 365 days a year to ensure the base remains secure and operational.

“We provide force protection for personnel and property throughout the entire installation to include base housing, installation-access control and flightline security,” said Capt. Christopher Foti, 88 SFS operations officer. “We also provide base defense and general law enforcement responses to 911 and other calls for help.”

After the traditional workday ends, Security Forces are able to close some gates, leaving only the two 24-hour access-control points (12A and 19B) open for traffic. That gives leadership the ability to reduce the number of “Defenders” needed or reassign them to other areas.

“What’s unique about the mid-shift is we have a lot less traffic because it’s overnight, which means less of a demand for open gates,” said Master Sgt. Harley Teets, 88 SFS mid-shift flight chief. 

He said this decreased demand overnight can be nice during the winter months as that’s when cold fronts tend to move through the area and snow starts falling.

“We still have to make sure the gates remain open and crews can get in to keep the roads clear, so we are able to use the shacks at each gate for relief as they provide heat,” Teets added. 

The shacks also provide air conditioning in the summer, and shelter from storms for Airmen manning the gates. Those out on patrol have everything they need in their vehicles.

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“Our patrol cars come with the standard spotlight, radars, lights and sirens, as well as the newly installed tablets, which track (locations) and allow us to see things like building numbers quickly,” said Senior Airman Aaron Benner, 88 SFS patrolman. “We also have our bags, which allow us to carry things like helmets, gloves, reflective belts, and cold or wet-weather gear, if needed.”

Unlike the gates, the demand on Security Forces patrols doesn’t lessen overnight, but the types of calls are a little different.

“Patrols respond to more loud-noise complaints, wild animals in backyards and an occasional vehicle accident during the mid-shift,” Teets said. “They also keep quite busy on night shift with alarms, perimeter checks, post checks and flight-level exercises, as well as spending more time patrolling areas like base housing and our concurrent jurisdiction on roads around the base.” Some of the accidents include vehicles running into gates closed overnight. 

“It’s important that people pay attention to their surroundings, because they are used to gates being open during the day, and when they try to come on base at night, they run into the closed gates,” Teets said.

In the end, though, whether it be responding to a call for help, manning the 24-hour gates or patrolling base housing, Foti says Security Forces are ready. 

“The biggest thing to know is that our Defenders remain vigilant and aware of what’s going on at night,” he said. “Everyone can rest easy knowing that they will remain safe and secure and that we’ve got someone looking out for them.”