News>Town patrol ensures safety of Wolf Pack members
KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea— Airman 1st Class Kassandra Naone, 8th Security Forces town patrolman, stops in a club while doing her rounds here Dec. 8. The mission of town patrol is to provide a safe and secure environment to United States Forces Korea personnel. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Araceli Alarcon)
KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea— Staff Sgt Dustin Drake, 8th Security Forces Squadron town patrolman, ensures personnel stay safe while in A-Town here Dec. 8. The mission of town patrol is to provide a safe and secure environment to United States Forces Korea personnel. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Araceli Alarcon)
KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea— Senior Airman Travis Burroughs, 8th Security Forces Squadron town patrolman, briefs volunteers on proper procedures while working in A-Town here Dec. 8. The mission of town patrol is to provide a safe and secure environment to United States Forces Korea personnel.
(U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Araceli Alarcon)
by Staff Sgt. Alice Moore
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
12/12/2007 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea -- In an area outside the base called A-Town, Wolf Pack members can be seen shopping, eating and enjoying some night life. While there, people may notice uniformed Airmen patrolling the area. One may think they're out to hinder a person's fun. However, these Airmen are actually here for another purpose.
The Wolf Pack town patrol's mission is to provide a safe and secure environment for all United States Forces in Korea personnel while they're in A-Town.
"Our primary mission is force protection followed by our law enforcement mission," said Master Sgt. Shawn Matzen, 8th Security Forces, town patrol noncommissioned officer in charge.
The flight is comprised of 8th SFS members and on weekends, other Wolf Pack members. Each unit throughout the base take turns providing volunteers to help out with town patrol on Friday and Saturday nights.
Sergeant Matzen said the reason town patrol is vital to the wing's mission is because they provide force protection outside the wire.
"They (town patrol Airmen) work to provide perimeter checks, random anti-terrorism measures and identifying third country nationals who enter A-Town," he said. Adding, "that it's definitely a mission that requires nothing but the best Airmen."
We're charged with keeping the Wolf Pack safe while they are in A-Town and I have some of the best young Airmen in the unit," he said. "They're motivated, hard working and professional. The Airmen who get assigned to town patrol have to be mature, patient and above all else level headed."
Sergeant Matzen said the Airmen assigned to town patrol often find themselves giving up their weekends and holidays to keep the Wolf Pack safe.
Members assigned to the flight said often times the biggest misconception of town patrol is that Airmen are there to ruin the fun of those who are in A-Town.
"We're not out there to get people in trouble," said Staff Sgt. Yolanda Spikes, 8th SFS town patrolman. "When we approach someone for inappropriate behavior it doesn't always equate to an apprehension."
Sergeant Spikes said typically town patrol members conduct period checks throughout A-Town to ensure there is nothing out of the ordinary going on. In the event someone does engage in activities that they shouldn't be involved or if someone's safety is in questions, town patrol usually steps in.
"Sometimes people here might not think you're helping them out, but in reality you are," Sergeant Spikes said.
Sergeant Matzen said town patrol prefers to send people home with their wingman rather than apprehend someone when he or she has had too much to drink.
"We're just here to help and have their (USFK personnel) backs," said Senior Airman Celebrity Robertson, 8th SFS town patrolman.
Airman Robertson said another rumor about town patrol is that the patrolmen assigned to the unit get an extra incentive for apprehensions when in reality, they don't.
Members of the flight emphasized that their mission comes down to the safety of people they're responsible for.
"We like for people to have a good time here," she said. "We're not here to hang out in the clubs or bars, we conduct checks just to ensure everything is alright."
The flight usually works from about 5 p.m. until curfew, which is midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends and holidays. Sergeant Matzen said although town patrol prefers to avoid apprehending someone, sometimes it can't be avoided.
"If you violate the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) you leave us little choice," he said.
In order for Wolf Pack members to truly understand town patrol's role here, Sergeant Matzen encourages Airmen to volunteer their time with the flight.
"We encourage all personnel to volunteer for town patrol," he said. "This is a great way for personnel to work downtown and see what we do on a daily basis. Anyone interested in seeing A-Town from a different perspective should contact their first sergeant."