Air Force 2nd Lt. Anntasia Curtis, of the 27th Logistics Readiness Squadron, left, laughs as she gets security detail tips from Army Staff Sgt. Drew Neal Thursday at the main gate at Cannon Air Force Base. CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth.
By Darrell Todd Maurina
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE — In the military some work can never stop, no matter whether it’s a holiday or not.
Among those duties is guard duty. Come hot or cold, rain or shine, snow, sleet, or ice, gate guards have to check identification cards for every person who wants to get into Cannon Air Force Base. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Air Force began to receive assistance from the National Guard, and Cannon had a mix of Air Force and National Guard personnel providing base security.
On Thanksgiving, however, the gate guards received extra help from another source: company grade officers — second lieutenants, first lieutenants, and captains — whose presence helped some of the enlisted gate guards take time off to be with their families.
“If they’ve got to be out there, we’re going to be out there with them,” said 2nd Lt. Richard Nygaard, who usually spends his time dealing with aircraft maintenance.
“It’s neat to be able to see a different aspect of what we do here at Cannon,” Nygaard said.
For 2nd Lt. Anntasia Curtis, standing in freezing cold weather wasn’t what she expected when she learned her first assignment would be only one state away from her native Texas, but she said she is glad to learn more about what others on base do.
“It is amazing what all they do (as gate guards),” Curtis said. “It can get tedious, but at times it can be very hectic with lots of cars coming through.”
Both Curtis and Nygaard said it’s been surprising to learn all the rules guards have to follow to keep the base safe from intruders by checking identification cards.
Senior Airman Laura Serina said she enjoyed having officers come out to help with her work.
“It’s enough to have them here, at least they now know what it’s like to be here,” Serina said. “We appreciate their time and offering their help.”
For those who still have to work guard duty on the holidays, 1st Lt. Todd Kentney of the New Mexico National Guard said he will make special efforts to get them off on Christmas so they can go back to visit their families.
“The commander and I have been trying to make sure soldiers who have to be here get time off later,” Kentney said.