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Security Forces team sets sight on winning Challenge

DoD Officer Yvette Perez takes aim and readies to fire during a high-risk entry tactical training. Officer Perez is a member of the 61st Air Base Wing's security forces team to compete in Guardian Challenge 2010 May 16 to 19 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

DoD Officer Yvette Perez takes aim and readies to fire during a high-risk entry tactical training exercise. Officer Perez is a member of the 61st Air Base Wing's security forces team to compete in Guardian Challenge 2010 May 16 to 19 at the United States Air Force Academy, Colo. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- To win in space and dominate the space frontier, the battle starts here, on earth.

Nobody takes it to heart more so than those who stand guard to protect Los Angeles Air Force Base and its people every hour, every day. Their commitment and skills will soon be on display and tested.

A team representing the best and the fittest of 61st Air Base Wing's security forces personnel will travel to Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., to compete May 16 through 19 in Guardian Challenge 2010, with concluding events and awards ceremony on May 20 and 21.

"Our team is unique among competing security forces teams because its members, drawn from both the 61st Security Forces Squadron and Department of Defense police force, represent the 'total force' concept that closely resembles the realistic conditions of daily base operations," said Col. Anita Latin, 61st Air Base Wing commander. "We can proudly show our three components that secure and protect LAAFB: active-duty military, civilians and reservists."

The selection process was rigorous and highly competitive, said 2nd Lt. Alea Nadeem, team coach. "The competitors shot both the M-4 carbine and M-9 pistol, then ran 1.5 miles, and did push-ups and sit-ups for one minute. Those with the highest combined scores made the team."

Representing LAAFB in this year's competition will be DoD Officers Steven Haymes and Yvette Perez, Tech. Sgts. Peter Ada and Juan Felix, and Staff Sgt. Rochanapan Silpe (alternate).

"Of course our main objective is to bring home the 'Best Security Forces Team' trophy," said Lieutenant Nadeem. "To that end, we'll be training hard to build a strong, competitive team, physically and mentally."

The team will begin its training April 5 at March Air Reserve Base, Calif. Since competition will take place in Colorado, "building team members' physical endurance is critical to preparing them for the high-altitude competition environment where their fitness performance will be greatly affected," said Lieutenant Nadeem. "We'll also train on military operations on urban terrains [MOUT], high-risk entry tactics, and outside perimeter security."

Team members will practice live firing once and possibly twice daily, said Lieutenant Nadeem. "By concentrating on shooting practice, it's quite possible to achieve our goal of perfecting our score in this portion of the competition," she said. "Practice does make perfect in this case."

The training and competition mirror the operational experience in that they emulate realistic situations of base defense and security, said Lieutenant Nadeem. "This competition is designed to test and evaluate basic security force skills required to function and survive in environments that span the spectrum of military operations ranging from day-to-day security to combat, including military operations other than war," according to Guardian Challenge 2010 Competition Plan.

"This team represents the 61st Air Base Wing's security team, which on any given day, protects a workforce of more than 4,500 employees and multibillion-dollar satellite and launch systems," said Colonel Latin. "Providing the most secure environment in which LAAFB personnel and their family work and live is our mission. The team composition also embodies our vision of single-minded commitment to provide SMC the best base operating support in the Air Force."