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Always Watching, Always Lethal

In a distant corner of the base, a convoy is leaving the highly-secured, fenced off weapons storage area to take nuclear assets to the missile field and BAM! There’s an attack. Armed men take these volatile resources and have the power to wreak unimaginable harm.

Senior Airman Erik Lewis, 90th Security Forces Squadron alarm monitor, stands in front of bunker in the weapons storage area at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Jan. 26, 2018. Lewis ensures the defense of the base’s nuclear assets and personnel working in the WSA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Carter)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --

In a distant corner of the base, a convoy is leaving the highly-secured, fenced off weapons storage area to take nuclear assets to the missile field and BAM! There’s an attack. Armed men take these volatile resources and have the power to wreak unimaginable harm.

 

With these weapons in the wrong hands, many lives are in danger and our nation’s security has been gravely compromised.

 

Here’s why that won’t happen.

 

Thankfully, the WSA is manned 24/7 by security forces defenders and within its walls are a network of Airmen working tirelessly to repair and protect our nuclear components. One of the Airmen ensuring the safety of our personnel and resources is Senior Airman Erik Lewis, 90th Security Forces Squadron alarm monitor, who works in the WSA as a local area display monitor.

 

“We’re like the Watch Tower in Justice League, so we’re the eyes and ears for WSA security,” Lewis said. “In a scenario like that we would dispatch teams to respond to the threat.”

 

Lewis also has access to a Remote Target Engagements System, which allows him to monitor inside the WSA and the surrounding area. He can engage a target from up to almost 4,000 feet away.

 

“I can use the RTES to track weapon movements and scan areas to make sure nothing is going on. Like an eye in the sky,” Lewis said. “Using the trainer allows us to monitor the area without having the weapons live because the actual system has M240 machine guns attached to it.”

 

The WSA is the workspace for the munitions Airmen, and Staff Sgt. Mark Jackson, 90th Munitions Squadron re-entry system and vehicle team chief, said security is vital for them to get the mission done.

 

“We literally cannot operate without cops providing security for us,” Jackson said. “It really gives me peace of mind knowing they have our backs if anything happens.”

 

Lewis emphasized that what security forces does in the WSA isn’t well-known and some may get the wrong idea about their role.

 

“It can seem like we just sit around because we’re not always actively responding to something, but you have to look at the big picture,” said Lewis. “I get to be a part of something really important and that’s what gets me up and motivated every day.”