F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --
A Marine steps into the bearcat, ready to roll out on his first convoy with the Air Force. Right behind him follows a missileer from the 90th Operations Group. These two are the first ride-along participants from outside the Convoy Response Force on F. E. Warren Air Force Base.
In an effort to provide opportunities for communication across different specialties – and even military services – the CRF invited a security forces officer from the Marine Corps and a missileer to ride along in a convoy here Jan. 25, 2018.
Marine Capt. Sean Ford, executive officer for the U.S. Marine Corps Security Battalion at Navy Base Kitsap near Bangor, Washington, came to F. E. Warren to participate in a convoy and learn more about how the Air Force conducts their operations, while 2nd Lt. Belen Quillen, deputy crew commander from the 321st Missile Squadron, came to learn more about her security forces counterparts.
“This is a great opportunity for some cross-pollination,” said 2nd Lt. Steven Robinson, CRF commander. “When we get to do these types of things, other communities get to see and experience what we do and they leave with a better appreciation for it, because they understand.”
That sense of understanding was not lost on Quillen, who left with a different appreciation for the cops’ efforts.
“Before we left, I was excited to see all the logistics behind transporting materiel and personnel,” said Quillen. “This experience reinforced the fact that the cops are valuable members of our community who are more important than we sometimes give them credit for.”
As part of his position, Ford participates in nearly daily convoy training and exercises in Washington, although the convoys executed there are entirely within the confines of the military installation.
“The main purpose of my trip here today is to compare and contrast the way the Navy and Marine Corps run convoys to the Air Force,” said Ford. “If I can provide any pointers, I’ll do that, but it’s really more to try and find ways to improve convoy processes across the services.”
Nuclear convoys transport some of the country’s most powerful resources across miles of public highway to ensure ICBM wings are equipped to execute their strategic deterrence mission. The movements require collaboration between operators, security forces members and maintainers, said Capt. Timothy Marriner, 90th Security Support Squadron operations officer. The 90th Missile Wing drives about 15,000 convoy miles annually to accomplish that mission.
Even before rollout, Ford knew that the nuclear convoy was different than what he was used to, with more vehicles and more incorporation of troops outside of security forces.
“The first thing I recognized is that Air Force convoys are longer than I’m accustomed to,” said Ford. “There are more vehicles, and there’s a lot more integration with different cells and units than we typically conduct.”
After returning to base, Ford acknowledged that while the mission set was different than he was accustomed to, the CRF cops handled themselves in a professional fashion.
“According to doctrine, these troops did things by the book,” said Ford. “From planning phases to execution, along with their coordination internally and with outside agencies, they did a great job.”