90th SFS uniform – part of an “elite” tradition

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Torri Savarese
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. - Many people may have noticed the distinctive attire worn by the 90th Security Forces Squadron Airmen during the Fort D.A. Russell Days open house and Cheyenne Frontier Days. People may admire the flawless shine to their boots, over which their blues pants are impeccably bloused, and the ascot bearing the symbol of Air Force Global Strike Command. But it's not only about bloused blues or spit-shined shoes; the uniform worn by the Mighty Ninety Defenders gives a nod to the old Strategic Air Command, and the Elite Guard charged with guarding the nation's most valuable weapons.

"The Elite Guard was, and is, truly a unique organization within the United States Air Force," said retired Col. Ray Balcer, first designated officer-in-charge of the SAC Elite Guard, in a written history of the guard.

In addition to safeguarding weapons, the Defenders here replicate the mentality of professionalism practiced by the Elite Guard every day, as they provide the first impression of the 90th Missile Wing to everyone who enters the installation.

"It's an honor to follow the traditions of those who have served before us," said Airman 1st Class John Mullins, 90th SFS. "I like wearing the blues because it shows you've really made the effort to look sharp and be a proper representative of the base."

During the open house, people from the local community are invited to experience the mission and rich history of F. E. Warren, from its early days as Fort D.A. Russell to the present.

"The elite guard uniform is part of a rich heritage in the security forces," said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Russell, 90th SFS operations superintendent. "It is important that our Airmen have the opportunity to become part of that tradition. Special events like CFD allow our Airmen to interact a great deal with the surrounding community, and visitors to Cheyenne and the base. The Elite Guard uniform raises the bar for professionalism and our Air Force image.

Despite high temperatures and the meticulously placed pieces of the uniform, the security forces Airmen have no complaints.

"I'm honored to carry out military traditions, and represent my squadron the best way I can," said Airman 1st Class Evan Van Nieuwenhuyze, 90th SFS and first-time wearer of the Elite Guard uniform.

From first-timers to seasoned veterans, Defenders understand the history and heritage of this annual open house, as well as of the uniform they wear.

"This ain't my first rodeo - no pun intended," said Senior Airman Rob Anderson, 90th SFS. This is Anderson's fourth year of Fort D.A. Russell days, and wearing the Elite Guard uniform. "The girls like it," he added with a grin.

The SAC Elite Guard was a United States Air Police unit formed in December, 1956, at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., to provide security at the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command, its resources and personal protection for the commander and vice commander of SAC, established by Gen. Curtis E. LeMay. The Guard was distinguished by exclusive uniforms, which included an ascot and blue wool beret.