Security Forces Airmen from the 409th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron recently upgraded the guard towers at Niger Air Base 201, Agadez, Niger.
Based on feedback from previous deployment rotations, Four Defenders found a way to create better firing platforms, increase line of sight, and provide a more comfortable working environment for Security Force Airmen .
“When we got here two months ago, the last rotation complained about the turns,” Tech said. sergeant. Tyler Carlson, 409th ESFS programs and plans NCO in charge. “We wanted to improve the towers, so we looked at the tower configuration and started thinking about ideas.”
The guard tower firing port shields, while operational, were not optimal for the security forces weapon systems. Additionally, the towers lacked air conditioning, which amplified the African heat and exposed the Defenders to heat injuries.
“Towers were not used on very hot days due to weather and poor visibility,” the Staff Sergeant said. Nicholas Pellegra, superintendent of operations for the 409th ESFS. “Towers are an integral part of securing the perimeter of the base…they provide an elevated fortified vantage point to deter and engage any threat from a distance.”
The innovator team used plasma cutters to expand the firing port and replaced the shields on all guard towers.
“We started by removing the shield from the firing port, but realized the opening was too big,” Carlson said. “We then tested what aperture size would work best for all of our weapon systems.”
With local temperatures reaching up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, they also installed electrical and air conditioning units to protect Airmen from heat-induced injuries and improve their comfort.
“We worked with Civil Engineers Flight, HVAC provided us with air conditioning units for the towers,” Carlson said. “Structures provided us with the materials to build the support for the air conditioning units and the electrical engineers worked hard to figure out how to power the towers.”
Due to funding, air travel and logistical challenges inherent in operations in Africa, not all towers were equipped with climate-controlled air conditioning units, but the team remains committed to seeing every tower upgraded.
“We will continue to make small improvements to the towers to ensure any concerns have solutions,” Carlson said. “We want to improve the things we have on this deployment.”
Upgrading guard towers is just one of many projects the Defenders have undertaken to increase base defense, care for Airmen, and speed change with a little ingenuity.
“The team has done a terrific job with all of the base security upgrades, with the towers being the number one priority,” Pellegra said. “All of Air Base 201 will benefit from the upgrades. Our defenders and mission partners will benefit from a climate-controlled work environment and improved security posture for all personnel.
Thanks to their “find a way” attitude, Tech. sergeant. Tyler Carlson, technician. sergeant. Reid Ericson, Master Sgt. Luke Gorst and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Pellegra demonstrated how adaptable team leaders and innovative problem solvers can overcome obstacles when deployed in the unforgiving environment of Africa.