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Founding fathers dwindle to two

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Scotty Sweatt
  • 916th Security Forces UPAR
On a sunny autumn day in 1988, a handful of security forces troops met in an old dormitory here to form the humble beginnings of the 916th Security Forces Squadron.

There were originally seven members who set a pace that has been followed for nearly 19 years.

Until July 2007, there were three remaining members of that original group who shared the hardships, memories and pride of all those years of service, and then there were two.

In mid-July, Senior Master Sgt. Ronald McKenzie retired with more than 20 years of honorable service to the Air Force Reserve. Every minute of it was spent right here protecting the 916th Air Refueling Wing.

"I'll miss the people," said Sergeant McKenzie, as he recollected the memories of his fellow defenders, past and present.

Remaining in the unit are the last two founding fathers, Senior Master Sgts. Pascal Tucker and Jeff Williams.

These three have seen many changes over the years. Sergeant Tucker recalled the motivated troops that created this legacy.

"We came in to serve," said Sergeant Tucker. "There were good attitudes and people dedicated to the mission."

When the unit was formed, those who came did so out of a love for what they do and for what they could give, rather than what they could get, said Sergeant Tucker.

The group moved from an old dormitory to a former alert building that once housed B-52 crews.

"There was stuff piled everywhere," recalled Sergeant Williams. "That place hadn't been occupied in years."

From there, the security forces moved three more times. They finally ended up in their own building, which was built for them in 2005.

When asked how it felt to finally have a home, Sergeant Tucker sported an uncontrollable smile.

"There are no words to describe how it feels to finally have a first class cop building to call our own," said Sergeant Tucker.

As with any military organization, good leadership sets the standards.

Sergeant Williams remembers the motivation and professionalism of the 916th SFS's first commander, Capt. Donna Daugherty.

"She was the first female security police commander in the Air Force," boasted Sergeant Williams. "She set the bar high."

Sergeant McKenzie and Sergeant Tucker echoed those feelings, adding how then and now, members of the 916th SFS pride themselves in being the absolute best at what they do.

The remaining two members plan to carry the torch for a bit longer before passing it on to the next generation.

When asked about retirement, Sergeant Tucker snickered and said, "I've been doing this for 24 years. I've probably got two or three more years in me, and then it's going to be time for me to go."

The three men recalled many things that have changed over the years.

The rate of deployments has increased, the way the missions are carried out has become more involved, the major command that they were assigned to has changed four times, and the troops are getting younger.

One thing that is unlikely to change is the legacy created so long ago.

Sergeant Williams summed it up well with his hopes for the future.

"My wish when I leave here is that we want there to be a sense of heritage, that this unit be remembered for the high standards and professionalism that we have had since the beginning," said Sergeant Williams. "I can see that tradition as a permanent part of who we are."