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Two Defenders lead the way during pandemic, protests

From left to right, Col. Devin Pepper, Buckley Garrison Commander, Senior Airman Tyler Banks, 460th Security Forces Squadron Base Defense Operations Center controller, Senior Airman Trey Flowers, 460th SFS Restricted Area controller, and Chief Master Sgt. Robert Devall, Buckley Garrison command chief, pose for a photo at the 460th SFS training site at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Banks and Flowers were both coined by Pepper for their outstanding performance during the COVID-19 pandemic and local protests. (Courtesy photo)

From left to right, Col. Devin Pepper, Buckley Garrison Commander, Senior Airman Tyler Banks, 460th Security Forces Squadron Base Defense Operations Center controller, Senior Airman Trey Flowers, 460th SFS Restricted Area controller, and Chief Master Sgt. Robert Devall, Buckley Garrison command chief, pose for a photo at the 460th SFS training site at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Banks and Flowers were both coined by Pepper for their outstanding performance during the COVID-19 pandemic and local protests. (Courtesy photo)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Two 460th Security Forces Squadron members were recently recognized by Col. Devin Pepper, Buckley Garrison commander, at the 460th SFS training site for their outstanding performance during the COVID-19 pandemic and for crowd control during local protests.

Senior Airman Tyler Banks, 460th SFS Base Defense Operations Center controller, and Senior Airman Trey Flowers, 460th SFS Restricted Area controller, filled mission critical roles during the initial COVID-19 outbreak.

In response to the pandemic, Banks was competitively selected to man a top priority post for the SFS sequestration team.

“Just like some Airmen who worked in the restricted area got sequestered to base, SFS had a plan as well to ensure we could meet security requirements during the pandemic,” said 2d Lt. Samuel Good, 460th SFS flight commander.

Additionally, as one of two Krav Maga, military self-defense and fighting system instructors in the unit, Banks’ skills helped to enhance the Emergency Services Team’s weapon retention and hand to hand combat tactics, techniques and procedures. As an EST assistant team lead, he has spent over 180 hours leading and training Airmen increasing Team Buckley’s counter-terrorism capabilities.

“The EST is always ready for the high risk scenarios beyond what the typical defender is trained to do such as hostage rescue and barricaded suspects,” said Good. “However, we were not utilized on a normal basis until the protests started.”

Flowers also played a huge role during the local protests.

He assisted with organizing and training 54 personnel with over 12 hours of riot control operations for high threat protests in the area.

Flowers was key to mission success by becoming certified as armorer within 72-hours of notification. An armorer handles all the weapons and issues out equipment for Defenders before their shifts.

The certification usually takes more than 30 days, and it has a relatively high failure rate.

“Senior Airman Banks and Senior Airman Flowers are outstanding young Airmen, Americans, and warriors,” said Maj. Joseph Farinash, 460th SFS commander. “Their dedication to enabling the many missions at Buckley, and their unwavering commitment to defending the installation makes me extraordinarily proud of them both. They represent the excellence, professionalism and patriotism of the many women and men of the 460th SFS.”

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