By By Ely TrappNovember 9, 2009
Every issue The Desert Star will feature a different position and share how they contribute to the overall mission. Everyone at TEAD has a "Special Sauce," and we will let you know what that is.
Position: Security Officer
Division: Law Enforcement and Security Branch
Team Member: John C. Hunt
Hometown: Borger, Texas
Whether it's 115 degrees or below 20 degrees outside, the security officers at Tooele Army Depot are standing at the traffic control point controlling access to the installation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their mission: to protect and to serve the depot workforce and their mission of supporting the Warfighter.
"The workforce is used to seeing (security officers) at the gates and out at various locations conducting security checks, often forgetting that those guards they see are their first line of security if something were to happen on TEAD," said Ryan Welch, chief of the Law Enforcement and Security Branch. "The officers act as a deterrent to those who might otherwise cause havoc and disruption to the work and the personnel on (the depot), the only thing about being a deterrent is that people often take it for granted; fortunately the officers of the Law Enforcement and Security Branch never forget the importance of their duties and mission."
Former security police in the Air Force, Hunt takes great pride in his work as a security officer at TEAD. He spent an entire career in the Air Force and the Department of Energy protecting nuclear resources before deciding to switch over to munitions six years ago.
"I think we are doing a very important job here supplying Warfighters with weapons and munitions that they need to keep us free," Hunt said. "That's what motivates me, making sure that the Soldiers in the field have what they need to keep us free because freedom isn't free."
As the gatekeepers to the depot, the officers are the first contact outsiders have with the TEAD workforce, so it is important to make a great first impression. Known for his pleasant demeanor and kind manner, Hunt takes time to make everyone feel welcome.
"These are really great people that work here, you treat people with dignity and respect and they return it in kind," he said. "That's been my rule. This is the worst job on the depot. You stand here in all kinds of weather... there's no need to take it out on the poor people that are coming through the gates. I put on a big ole Texas smile on my face and say 'howdy.'"
Although everyone is familiar with security officers at the gate, they have many other responsibilities, including conducting criminal investigations, patrolling the 24,000 acres of the depot, enforcing policies, rules and laws on the depot, ensuring full compliance with all security requirements, conducting interviews, gathering Police Intelligence Information and performing law enforcement duties under the Assimilated Crimes Act.
Understanding that attacks do happen, Hunt said it takes a special person to be able to make that kind of commitment.
"Every time I strap on my gun belt or swing the rifle over my shoulder I think, 'are you willing to lay your life down to protect these resources'' You have to make the decision of absolutely yes; you would give your life to protect your coworkers, the (workforce) and the resources."
In order to become a security officer, personnel must be able to meet the Office of the Provost Marshal General (OPMG) qualifications. Department of the Army civilian officers are required to successfully complete 80 hours of initial training and certification specifically tailored to the guard mission. In addition to initial training officers will participate in annual in-service training to ensure they maintain proficiency in their law enforcement and guard skills and remain current in doctrine.
Aside from having well trained security officers, LESB also has a Special Reaction Team, which is the commander's principle response force in the event of a major disruption or special threat to the installation. The team recently recertified in June 2009 and is integrated into the everyday LESB mission.
"We have a very professional protective force here," Hunt said, "they are highly trained, well equipped, and well paid. I really believe that we have the tools to protect the people and resources here. So many times (people) think, 'oh it's just a dumb guard,' but what you have is a highly motivated and well trained individual and I'm very proud to be a member of the department."
So when the snow is falling and you have to roll down your window to allow the security officers to hold and observe your badge, don't complain, those guys are out there everyday, all day, regardless of the weather, to ensure you can accomplish your mission safely so Warfighters can accomplish theirs.
What is the Security Officer's Special Sauce' Ensuring that the depot and every Warfighter is "Always at the Ready."