USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- As a young 2nd Lieutenant, police officer / Security Policeman (SP) in the US Air Force, I was quietly advised by my fellow commissioned officers that should I ever actually fire my weapon while on duty, at either someone or something, I could pretty much kiss my Air Force career goodbye.
There were the stories about Security Police in the missile fields of Montana and North Dakota using deadly force that was authorized to defend and protect nuclear weapons, only to suffer under the Uniform Code of Military Justice after the fact.
Now if Security Policemen had lost a nuke on their watch because they did not fire their weapons, those poor bastards would still be in prison.
My big Air Force/AF is really easy about applying the concept of deadly-force-authorized, to defend non-living assets, but they get most distressed when some young Air Force cop takes the leadership up on their prearranged instructions and actually makes the decision to shoot at bad guys.
There is an alleged “war story” about an AF cop / SP responding to a bar fight in Osan, Korea one night. This SP found himself alone in an alley with about 10-12 very drunk off-duty Army and Air Force members. Drinking was a way of life for the US military stationed in Korea. They were discussing the merits and tactics of beating the crap out of the cop. He knew it was going to be a painful reality. In those days an Air Force cop only carried a 38 special revolver, 18 extra rounds of ammo and a set of handcuffs.
There was no pepper spray or a non-lethal night-stick. Of course, Tasers were not even around back in the day. The young SP officer was going to get his butt beat most severely. That is when he decided he had a revolver on his hip for a reason and pulled it out. The SP even put an extra six rounds of ammo in his left hand. Figuring once he started firing, he was going to win real quick or they all would charge him en masse, and he needed to reload for the “Last Stand at Osan.”
Do you know what the first thing that comes out of the mouth of one of those drunk idiots was, “Hey, you’re not allowed to use that gun?” The drunk was advised he was going to be the first one shot. The drunk laughed but seemed to slip away into the steamy hot Korea summer night, leaving one less target of opportunity for the cornered SP.
Surprisingly there was an inebriated pilot standing in the crowd, egging his fellow drunks on to attack the SP. When the SP told him he was going to enjoy shooting him in the kneecap and making sure he never passed a flight physical again, the drunk pilot did not think that was funny. At some point, the drunks realized the Air Force cop, with his back literally to the wall and no avenue of escape was really going to shoot some of them, so the crowd drifted away.
The next day the cop was order to see some Lt. Colonel (flying-type) who owned the drunk pilot and explain who the hell the SP thought he was threatening to shoot one of his pilots’ just for having a good time out on the town. Attempts were made to explain the situation, but it was not working. Then, the now sober pilot comes in, and the Lt. Colonel advised the SP he owed the pilot an apology. There was concern beforehand this was going to happen, and preparations were made.
A spent 38 special shell case was handed to the pilot. The cop advised him he was lucky he had not been on the receiving end of that round of ammo. The two pilots just stood there as the cop left and nothing was heard again about that drunken night at Osan.
Now if our SP had actually pulled the trigger that night in Osan, there is a pretty good chance he would have never been able to stay in the Air Force long enough to collect his retirement check. Even if legally he was in the right, they could have gotten rid of him. He would have received bad evaluations, never got promoted, and been forced to leave early in his career.
Incidents like the once-upon-a-time tale of a drunken night at Osan, Korea happens on occasion around the world with Air Force cops and unruly Airmen. In most cases, a shot is never fired, and the incident does not make it to international cable news.
And then there is Groom Lake.
So, these alien-hunting civilians want to swarm the Air Force classified location at Groom Lake, which is north of Las Vegas in the Nevada desert. This base is also the “famous” Area 51.
Please keep in mind the US government owns a very large chunk of the state of Nevada, to include the land that the Nevada Test and Training Range is on. If the Feds say you cannot be on their land they mean it and they back it up with guns. Groom Lake is on Federal land.
My last assignment in the Air Force prior to retiring as an AF cop from active duty was at Nellis Air Force Base, in Las Vegas. Nellis AFB was the support base for the Groom Lake operation. We had unclassified maps that had Groom Lake on them. There was no secret where Area 51 was located. Even with my increased security clearances, I was never officially told what was going on at Groom Lake and to tell you the truth I did not want to know.
The unofficial rumors had the physical security of Groom Lake structured in three rings of defense. Inside the wire of Groom Lake, there were allegedly Air Force, Security Policemen guarding the cantonment area. Outside the wire was the second ring of protection that was performed by private contract security. Then the first line of defense was another ring of contract security. This information is all alleged and for me hearsay. I do not know if it was true back then or how they are doing security now.
What I do understand is if these ground raiders actually show up, some Air Force careers are going to be ruined over what will happen. The Air Force does not even have to shoot any of the raiders. All the Air Force has to do is fail to have medical support, water stations and port-a-johns set up for the raiders. All it will take for international news to cry foul is a poor heat prostrated raider laying in the desert sand crying for his mommy.
Now if deadly force is actually used that day, the world will be in mourning for the misunderstood raiders who only wanted to find those pesky aliens.
As their blood is soaking into the sand, the phone calls will go out for the heads of the Air Force cops who dared to defend Area 51 the way they were instructed and trained to react. Cop leadership will be called to senior pilot leadership offices and threatened with the ruination of their military careers and prison time.
There will be video footage out there forever of the injured as they try to retrograde back to Las Vegas and of course the politicians demanding answers. Years later, the paper/money trail will finally come out as to what hostile foreign powers and what domestic terrorists were contributing money and support to the raider’s cause.
A suggestion to my fellow Air Force Security Forces cops, who will be on duty that day, be prepared to survive literally and politically. At the time of the writing of this column, there were already 1.2 million people who have declared their intent to attack Groom Lake. If Groom Lake is swarmed with even a fraction of the 1.2 million alleged raiders, there will be no stopping them, and if they get to you personally, you are their target.
They will not all be Americans out for a good time in the desert. The foreign operatives will be the ones looking for blood to embarrass the US government. They will just be dressed like all the rest of the raiders.
The talking heads on the cable news channels are all laughing at the idea of raiders attacking Groom Lake. I see none of this as funny. When that Airman cop has his back against the wall at Groom Lake and challenged by screaming raiders the way the drunks threatened that SP those many years ago one night in Osan, the reaction to use deadly force will arise.
Now if the three rings of security are how they conduct business at Groom Lake, and if the raiders successfully breach the first two rings to confront actual Air Force cops then, there will already have been a lot of shooting.
There is a history of individuals being killed trying to force their way into Groom Lake, but again that too is hearsay.
It is not funny. If the Federal government has established such elaborate interlocking security to protect Groom Lake, they are taking this serious, deadly serious.
So, the question to the raiders is, “do you feel lucky”? To the Air Force cops who will be on duty that day, watch your back and your fellow cops’ back but do not expect your big Air Force to side-you when this is all over. You might have an empty 5.56 shell case in your hand as you ask for a lawyer. Sad but true.
Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:
Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force, was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” [email protected]