• Security Forces Prayer
• History of the Security Police Beret

• Safeside Conception and Deployment History
• Links

Security Forces Prayer

Lord, you have called us to be
guardians of a nation founded
on Your principles.
Whatever our tasks
as Security Force men and women,
we do them to serve You
and our nation.
We are proud
to accept the responsibility
of this high calling.
We dedicate ourselves
to our vocation, and ask
for guidance and courage in aiding
our people to live with dignity,
in safety and peace.
We know that security comes
from Your presence,
so we pray with the Psalmist:
You bless those who obey
You, Lord;
Your love protects them
like a shield. Use us, O Lord,
as shields for your people,
reflecting Your security
and peace.

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The AFSPA's Security Forces Memorial
Statue At The USAF Museum, 2001

History of the Security Police Beret

The beret is a symbol of achievement and recognition. Many elite groups within other branches of military service have adopted the beret for this same reason. No matter what the color or insignia, the beret has been the trademark that identifies a particular group as being special and apart from the average military soldier, sailor, or airman.

The roots of the Security Police beret arc often traced back to the 1041st Security Police Squadron (Test) and "Operation Safeside" during 1965-67. The mission of the Air Police was changing, and this specially trained Task Force adopted a light blue beret with a Falcon patch as their symbol. It can only be speculated as to whether the idea came from the Army Ranger beret, since the initial cadre of the 1041’st SPS received its initial training at the Army Ranger School. The 1041st SPS evolved into the 82nd Combat Security Police Wing, but was deactivated in December 1968, thus bringing an end to the light blue beret with the falcon emblem.

Although the beret was not an authorized uniform item for Security Police work, several local commanders authorized a dark blue beret for their units even though the official Security Police cover remained the white service cap. In the early 70's, Military Working Dog handlers assigned to the 6280th SPS, Takhli RTAFB, Thailand, wore a dark blue beret with no insignia. The other members of the unit wore fatigue caps and the "jungle bonny" style hat. Again, the beret was distinguishing a specific group of specialized personnel. Other Units adopted a version of the beret to distinguish their elite guards.

When Brigadier General (Major General select) Thomas Sadler was appointed Air Force Chief of Security Police and the two symbol AF/SP office was created in 1975, the Security Police had arrived. The General 's task was to bring the Security Police into the mainstream of the Air Force and one of the tools for doing that was recognition—recognition of deeds as well as members of a distinctive and highly recognizable career field. The beret was one of the proposed uniform changes that had been being considered. Although there was significant opposition to the beret initially from senior colonels and MAJCOM Chiefs, the troops loved the idea, and that's what is was all about. Several months later the uniform board approved the proposal, and the beret was officially being worn world-wide in 1976.

The dark blue beret of 1976 was worn with the MAJCOM crest of the appropriate major command the unit was assigned to. It continued this way for twenty years until the forming of the Security Forces in early 1997. In March 1997, the 82nd CSPW was reactivated and redesigned the 820th Security Forces Group. It provides worldwide first in force protection for Air Force contingencies. The 820th SFG also adopted the heraldry of the 82nd CSPW, thus explaining the falcon's revival as the emblem for the Security Forces, with the addition of the motto "Defensor Fortis" on the scroll.

These young men and women have taken the baton and proudly are running with it. We of the original Safeside units can stand proud and hold our heads high in pride as to the accomplishments of these warriors and their deployments around the world.

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Safeside Conception and Deployment History

1966 - Special Order G-42, July 18, 1966, activated the 1041st Security Strike Force Squadron (Test) commanded by Lt Col William Wise and gave birth to Operation Safe Side. This unit was Ranger trained to provide an aggressive role in air base defense. Later they were renamed the 1041st Security Police Squadron (Test).

- 1041st SPS (T) arrived at Phu Cat AB, Vietnam. The success of the initial training and deployment to Viet Nam proved that Lt Col Wise could and did train an Air Force security force that could defend US bases and personnel in a hostile environment. Lt Col Wise was truly a man of vision.

On the 24th of July 1967, the CSAF approved the formation of the 82nd Combat Security Police Wing with three squadrons, the 821st, the 822nd, and the 823rd.

1968 - The 821st and the 822nd were trained at Scoffield Barracks, Hawaii. The 823rd was trained at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

In August of 1968, the 822nd CSPS relieved the 821st at Pleiku and Phan Rang in the Republic of Viet Nam. The Tet New Year was only months away. Rocket and mortar attacks became nightly common place. We of "B" flight were initially deployed to Pleiku Air Base. We were later deployed to Phan Rang Air Base. On January 27, 1969 in the Tet New Year, Pleiku AB was attacked by a large coordinated ground force of North Viet Nam regular forces. The attack was coordinated at Juliet sector which was under "B" flight control that night. The attack was supported by rocket and mortar fire. The attack lasted through the night into the dawn hours. The enemy breached only one section of our perimeter but was stopped by one of our bunker emplacements with several VC being killed and no casualties were sustained by Safeside personnel. A VC mortar position that was operating in a church tower 700 yards out from the perimeter was destroyed by a Safeside sniper. These brave Rangers could not have survived the night without possible casualties had it not been for decisive action and the best training afforded only through Safeside training. Many US fighter aircraft were destroyed by rocket and mortar fire the night. There were some US casualties of aircraft support personnel. If Safeside had not controlled Juliet sector that night the outcome would have been far worse. This success was not luck but can only be attributed to intense Ranger training and the fellowship and comradery that develops through unit training. Several Bronze Stars and one Air Force Accommodation Medal were awarded for bravery that night.

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