BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
The 9th Security Forces Squadron and members of Recce Town participated in Police Week activities, May 11 - 15, 2020, to honor the men and women of law enforcement who serve and protect our communities and those who lost their lives in the line of duty.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy created Peace Officers Memorial Day, a day to pay tribute to peace officers that have fallen, or been disabled in the line of duty. This day is celebrated on May 15th.
“The reason why Police Week is important is it provides recognition for a career field that often goes without,” said Phelan. “Our whole mission revolves around protecting the installation and making sure anyone on base can go throughout their day without having to worry about their safety or security. That mission is often taken for granted. It’s a week to highlight our Airmen that are out there putting in the work every day, and to remember those that came before us.”
Security Forces Airmen across the Air Force use this week as an opportunity to pay respects to those that came before them and celebrate those that are in the field today.
“This is a somber week,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Phelan, 9th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) evaluator. “Most of our events are about remembering fallen defenders or suicide awareness. But at the same time it is a celebration.”
Each day of this week had an event with its own significance to Security Forces Airmen.
Starting on Monday, flight chiefs delegated different flight members to memorialize 14 fallen Defenders who lost their lives in the line of duty while deployed overseas since 9/11.
“On Tuesday we had the 24-hour memorial ruck,” Phelan said. “It’s a way for us to pay our respects to those fallen Defenders. We have the flag and the guidon continually moving as a way to represent the continued mission passed down to us by those security forces members who paid the ultimate price.”
Wednesday was a day to celebrate the Airmen currently working to keep the installation safe. This year the 9th SFS held a cookout to highlight the importance of building comradery before the week delved into deeper topics.
“Thursday is our suicide awareness workout of the day,” Phelan said. “The reason we created it is the suicide pandemic that occurred last year. We had a 33% increase in suicides. A majority of those numbers come from security forces members. This is a way for us to bring awareness to this issue through a workout we are all doing together.”
Friday’s event was a Security Forces Presence Patrol. 14 cars drove across the base, each with a placard of one of the fallen Airmen’s faces on it. It provided those living on base an opportunity to come out and show their support while still complying with the restrictions aligned with COVID-19.
Having spent four years as a combat instructor, Tech. Sgt. Christopher Pate, 9th SFS NCOIC of Standards and Evaluations, has interacted with several of these Airmen that have given the ultimate sacrifice.
“It is important to uphold these names,” Pate said. “They are not just pictures on a wall, they’re husbands, fathers, sisters, mothers and people's children. That sacrifice shouldn’t be allowed to slip away so easily.”