Got Your Six, Infantrymen reinforce the 104th Air Guard mission
By Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey, 104th Fighter Wing
/ Published April 13, 2020
BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. --
Infantrymen from 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment, Bravo Company, are activated in response to COVID-19 to ensure there is enough manpower available to safeguard the 104th Fighter Wing assets and personnel. During the pandemic, the infantrymen will be working alongside the 104th Security Forces.
These precautions are being taken to mitigate any manning shortages that may occur due to unforeseen illness and will allow back up for the wing’s Security Forces.
“It is a good opportunity to work together with our counterparts,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Jones, 104th Fighter Wing Combat Arms Training and Maintenance Instructor. “Any time we can cross-service train and work with our counterparts, it is good. Having an extra component is a big deal —if we get in that spot, the helping hands are needed, it is nice knowing the state is in this together.”
The 1-181 Infantrymen will reinforce security for the 104th Fighter Wing F-15 homeland defense flying mission to maintain air superiority.
Jones described some of the readiness training taking place.
“We are training them on our mission here at the unit. They have an infantry military police mindset and get used to being downrange. We have gone over the use of force and several parts of the stateside mission.”
“I’m looking forward to serving our Massachusetts community as we are in these times together,” said Spc. Michael Stevens, who has served in the 1-181st for three years and works as a security guard at a hospital in Massachusetts. “It is pretty cool to be working alongside the Air National Guard and to see something different on the Air National Guard side than our normal duty.”
Sergeant Brendan Casey from Lowell, Massachusetts, has served in the 1-181st for six years. He is also a high school teacher in Cumberland, Rhode Island, and a wrestling coach at the Doughboy wrestling club.
“We have been watching the medical staff, nurses, and first responders doing their part, and we are thankful we can serve and are ready to do our part together with our community,” said Casey.
Spc. Jack Nguyen of the 1-181st from Saugus, Mass. said, “We are honored to be able to serve.” Nguyen has served in the 1-181st as an Infantryman for three years.
The 104th Security Forces’ mission is to safeguard the Air Force flying mission every day, and with guidance from public health, they can continue their mission readiness. The collaboration of the Airmen and Soldiers to continue maintaining the readiness of the unit amidst COVID-19 is vital.
“We are always ready,” said Spc. Sean Manion of the 1-181st Infantry and who is also a part-time firefighter in Georgetown and an Emergency Medical Technician in the state of Massachusetts. “We signed up to do a job, and that’s what we are doing now.”