By Airman Jacob Wrightsman, 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE — Within the gates of Barksdale Air Force Base, a select group of Airmen are entrusted with safeguarding billions of dollars in warfighting equipment and ensuring the safety of Airmen and their families.
Striving to become faster, smarter, lethal and ready, the 2nd SFS implemented changes to the gate hours to earmark more time to train.
“The goal is to increase our overall lethality,” said Maj. Lidia A. Iyassu, commander of the 2nd SFS. “To become lethal, ! you need to train; it doesn’t just happen overnight.”
The changes came in early January 2019, and align with Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein’s vision of a more lethal and ready Air Force.
“How do we as defenders meet that mark of a more deadly and ready force?” Iyassu said. “We have to get back to our training, it takes dedicated time to be the best.”
The strategic plan to shift gate hours for more training came after months of surveys and analysis by defenders at the gate.
“We did a lot of traffic studies before we shut anything down,” Miller said. “For about three months, our Airmen were counting traffic trying to figure out where the peak rush was. We tried to alter those hours specifically around the lows in traffic flow.”
“Putting six people out there for only a co! uple cars to come through in an eight hour shift, was just not cost effective, ” said Master Sgt. Emanuel S. Withers, superintendent of training for the 2nd SFS. “Man hours were wasted. That’s what it comes down to.”
The gate changes alleviated an already busy schedule for defenders and provided time for Airmen development.
“The gate hour changes on the weekends has given us the ability to run more exercises,” said Tech. Sgt. Krystoffer C. Miller, flight chief with the 2nd SFS. “It increases how much time our supervisors can spend with their troops, and also gives our Airmen a little more time to train during their duty time.”
The benefit of these changes was put on display as the U.S. Strategic Command’s Bomber Task Force in Europe required assistance from the 2nd SFS and its Airmen.
“Having these gate hour changes have given us the ability to support the mission here at Barksdale and overseas,” Iyassu said. “Our security forces Airmen are the first on the ground, ensuring security has been established, working with the host nation, setting up security anticipating the B-52s arrival. It gives them a true purpose of what they’re doing.”
Throughout all of the changes made to the schedule, the heart of the issue has always been the safety of Airmen and security of the base.
“Truly at the end of the day, the changes are to protect the individuals and the mission,” Iyassu said. “When you step on this base, we are monitoring. We are ensuring that everybody who is on this installation is supposed to be on this installation.”