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Missouri Air Guard Defender named best in AF Security Forces Awards

  • Published
  • By Michael Crane
  • 139th Airlift Wing

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Capt. Paul Day was recently recognized in the annual Air Force Security Forces Awards program as the 2022 Air Reserve Component Company Grade Officer of the Year. Day is the chief of plans and operations in the anti-terrorism office for the 139th Security Forces Squadron, Missouri Air National Guard.

Day won the prestigious award partly for his role in developing and executing Agile Combat Employment missions while deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Day took the lead on creating ACE plans from scratch, including developing equipment lists and working with U.S. Air Forces Central Command to secure necessary equipment. These ACE missions took him and his team to undisclosed locations throughout the region.

Day and his team had to think creatively about how to do their job from a location that may not have had many of the standard security resources available. He worked with his team to pair down equipment packages based on different aircraft that might be used and focused on doing the job in the simplest way possible.

“At the end of the day, we're defending resources and people,” said Day. “I always say, ‘you give me a thing and you put it anywhere, we'll protect it…[I] don't care what the thing is and where you put it. Our job is to protect it.”

Day attributes his success to the collaborative effort of his team, from master sergeants down to airmen first class.

As he was deployed, Day found himself taking part in numerous exercises, which allowed him to implement and test various counter-small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) procedures.

As the Security Forces representative for the Wing Operations Center (WOC), Day quickly realized there was a disconnect between the defenders and the WOC when it came to identifying SUAS. He knew that in order to effectively protect the base during these simulations, they needed to establish a common language.

"We recognized quickly that we needed a common lexicon...we needed to speak the same language," Day emphasized. He knew that without common terminology of the threats they were facing, they would struggle to work together effectively.

The impact of Day’s work went beyond his deployed location. The counter-SUAS verbiage and procedures he developed were eventually pushed out AFCENT wide.

Other than his overseas deployment, Day said he was also activated state side for Operation Allies Refuge. During his month-long activation, aircraft would arrive at Volk Field, Wisconsin, with Afghan refugees. Day’s team was responsible for coordinating their movement from the aircraft onto a bus that would take them to a nearby army base for housing. Day’s team also provided airport security during this time.

His dedication and coordination skills were critical in ensuring the safe and timely transfer of refugees to their designated location.

Whether deployed overseas or working stateside, Day emphasized that he and his teammates were simply doing their job to protect resources and people. His innovative approach and dedication to excellence have earned him recognition from the Air Force Security Forces enterprise.