(Editor's Note: National Police Week is May 9 -15. The week is set aside each year to honor all law enforcement officers – military and civilian – who have given their lives for our nation and their communities. In addition to honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we wanted to use this month to recognize the work of security forces members within the Air Force Security Forces Center, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center headquarters and our detachments. Like Defenders who have gone before, they are paving the way for the next generation because of the work they are doing for installations to include funding, training and equipment.)
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Meet Tech. Sgt. Zachary Tyler Shives, combat arms instructor with the Air Force Security Forces Center’s Desert Defender Detachment 3, Fort Bliss, Texas.
We asked him to tell us a little bit about himself and what he does to support the Air Force Defenders mission:
What are your main responsibilities?
Scheduling for the 16 people that make the machine turn. It may seem simple but there are many missions we run simultaneously. Due to this, there is a lot of planning that goes into this part and making sure that our team gets their well-deserved time off. While this is my main role, it is not my only as you will still find me instructing weapon courses and coaching on the firing line.
What is the best thing about your job?
The part of the job as a combat arms troop I enjoy the most is the firing line. Watching the shooters improve on the line from the interactive coaching we give leads to a feeling of satisfaction. You get to take the moment to give shooters quick tips they can apply in the moment to make them more lethal. I make sure it is advised that they can take home and practice so that it expands their knowledge.
As a child, what job did you want to have when you grew up?
It may come as a surprise but it had nothing to do with law enforcement or the military. Younger me aspired to be a novelist, however, like most have found out life has steered me in a different direction.
What made you pursue law enforcement as a career?
Although I did not pursue law enforcement at first, morals and discipline were a big part of my life. I spent a couple of years searching for a meaning in life and it dawned on me to look into the military. I was looking for a line of work where others relied on one another and were working towards a single goal.
What is your favorite part about being an Air Force security forces member?
The people I meet. Throughout my time in I have met many individuals from all over. I have been blessed to meet and call friends people, not just from other states, but from many other countries. I have been allowed to experience their traditions and perspectives which has, I believe, given me an amazing outlook on life.
Why is your job important to the Air Force mission?
The tools we give to not just SF but to the base populace that could in return save their lives. I always want to make sure that individuals entering the combat arms section leave feeling confident in their ability to protect not only Air Force assets but themselves as well.
What advice do you have for someone new to the SF career field?
You may hear someone tell you that your career is all on you and what you want from it. When I was a young airman, I was told the same thing and ran with it. I have been blessed with many different training opportunities and temporary duty assignments. If you want to achieve something you have to put your name out there and show your leadership you are hungry for chances to excel.
What or who motivates and inspires you the most?
The most important thing to me is my family. Being a husband to a supportive wife and a father of two beautiful girls keeps my drive on high. I want to give them everything I can while allowing the experiences from moving to new areas to give them a chance to grow as individuals.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I appreciate the opportunity to have a spotlight during this month but want to remind everyone to please take time to give respect to all law enforcement who have paid the ultimate price. It takes a special type of person to get up in the morning and wear a badge; however, I am thankful for every single one of them that does.