HomeNewsFaces of BealeDisplay

Arming the fight

Staff Sgt. James Cosens, 9th Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of the armory, turns in a cleared M-4 rifle to an armorer at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Feb. 1, 2012. Every weapon is checked at least twice for safety requirements before it is turned into the armory. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Robert M. Trujillo)

Staff Sgt. James Cosens, 9th Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of the armory, turns in a cleared M-4 rifle to an armorer at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Feb. 1, 2012. Every weapon is checked at least twice for safety requirements before it is turned into the armory. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Robert M. Trujillo)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., -- The 9th Security Forces Squadron armorers are tasked with the duty arming and disarming the law enforcement and security patrols that keep Beale safe.

Security forces personnel must draw their weapons from the armory prior to assuming post, a process of weapon exchange from armory to Airmen.

"The armory's main mission is to house and issue the tools need to get the job done," said Staff Sgt. James Cosens, 9th SFS noncommissioned officer in charge of the armory. "We distribute the weapons systems according to posting requirements."

The armory houses more than 800 weapons ranging from M-9 pistols, to 240-B machine guns.

In addition to the weapons used by security forces, base residents have the option of using the facility to store their weapons.

"We've seen it all everything from .45 caliber handguns to samurai swords," said Senior Airman Ben Schwark, 9th SFS assistant NCOIC of the armory.

Approximately 80 security forces members must pass through the armory at twice a day, once for issue and once for turn-in with safety being the main priority.

"It's our responsibility to ensure when our [security forces] personal receive a weapon, it's on safe and is clear of ammunition," said Senior Airmen Laura Sleutel, a 9th SFS armorer. "Upon turn in, weapons are again visually checked and verbally verified by the user that the weapon is safe and clear before it's given back to us."

With all the responsibility that comes with securing and issuing of weapons, potential armors must submit a resume and go through a selection process.

"Security forces are already held to a high standard but in order to be considered for an armory position, you have to be a cut above the rest," said Schwark. "It's a job that's taken very seriously."

Day or night, the 9th SFS armorers make sure the men and women who protect the base are well-armed and well equipped to defend it from any threat.

"We're always here and we're never closed; defending the base is a 24 hour a day, 365 days a year mission," said Cosens.