CGs help protect Yokota in more ways than one
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- They're the first sight people see when they enter Yokota. They scan common access cards and wish visitors a good day, or smile when those visitors attempt broken Japanese. Personnel typically see these men guarding the gates, but few probably know what else they do.
CGs are Japanese nationals who the Japanese government provides for United States Forces Japan, especially and most often as gate guards. Some of the guards in blue have been working the gates more than 10 to 20 years, ensuring potential enemies don't step foot past the guard shacks. Recently, however, the civilian guards have begun training to augment security forces Airmen to patrol Yokota streets and help enforce laws.
"You're going to start seeing them more often out and about with us," said Staff Sgt. James Thorn, 374th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations center controller.
With the ability to secure, assist and apprehend, security forces are training CGs to the same standard and to perform the same tasks as security forces on patrol.
Airman 1st Class Christian Weiss, 374 SFS patrolman, trains CGs.
"We teach them how to respond to a variety of incidents not seen working typical gate duty such as domestic situations, flight line security or vandalism," Weiss said, "Many CGs haven't done much patrol work and haven't had the opportunity to deal with these situations."
The security world of gate guarding and the law enforcement world of patrolling are different. According to Weiss, what the CGs are now learning challenges them with more uncertainty and requires more discretion and thinking on their feet. Sometimes the first instinct isn't the right one. Patrolmen have to think broadly and adapt to uncertain situations to respond with the most appropriate action. That is law enforcement. Security is more black and white, specific mandated responses, authorized and unauthorized.
Weiss said CGs pick up their training quickly and, though they may have been trained differently in the past, they are quick to adapt.
"They've been doing this as long as my supervisors and flight chiefs," said Weiss. "They have the experience and longevity of some of the technical and master sergeants on base. Most of the ones I've talked to have been doing this 13-20 years. Overall they're extremely hard working. They're very adaptable. They understand what they're doing."
Security forces personnel appreciate CGs for the workload they help to lighten. According to Weiss, they help with security forces operational ability by taking care of the gates as well as augmenting late-night shifts.
Daisuke Yanagawa, CG assistant flight chief, said that he likes working on Yokota, which he has been doing for 18 years.
"It's really fun to work with security personnel," said Yanagawa.
Yasuo Inoue and Akito Suzuki, both CGs, also said that they enjoy working on Yokota. Inoue has been working the gate for two years, and Suzuki 18 years.
Tech. Sgt. Emile Kandall, 374 SFS flight chief, worked with the civilian guards for two years, and says they are very accurate with their work. According to Kandall, Yokota is better protected with the CGs assisting with base defense.