PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations, visited the 21st Security Forces Squadron Oct. 20, to meet the squadron’s new Elite Guard Flight, a first for USSF. Raymond emphasized the importance of their duties in protecting the base, providing a professional image and unmatched customer service.
At the 21st SFS, Elite Guards will be posted from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. at all installation gates and will be distinguished by a brassard and ascot combination. The ascots bear the delta design of the U.S. Space Force, a symbol of the operations they support.
Tech. Sgt. Angela Zuniga, 21st SFS Elite Guard noncommissioned officer in charge, was key to the development and launch of the Elite Guard Flight and diligently built the one-of-a-kind program. Zuniga’s vision of the Elite Guard is to “cultivate professional, knowledgeable and proficient Airmen specializing in installation access control while securing Peterson Air Force Base and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station.”
However, the Elite Guard is more than a specialized unit that focuses on providing a more professional and efficient gate experience. The NCOs assigned to the Elite Guard also drive a deliberate development and mentorship program, custom designed for each member assigned to the Elite Guard. Staff Sgt. Richard Chevalier, one of four Flight Sergeants leading the Elite Guard, mentors five subordinates assigned through both on and off duty challenges.
“Leading these Airmen has been a rewarding and unique challenge,” said Chevalier. “Every day I find myself facilitating discussions on ethics, Air Force policy and numerous serious topics from job knowledge to communication skill. I encourage my Airmen to think outside of the box and present their ideas to me with the issues at hand instead of looking to me for answers. This gives me a chance to really understand and develop the Airmen’s process of thinking and problem solving, while building their confidence and comfortability making decisions,”
The Elite Guard has a rich heritage, dating back to 1957 when Gen. Curtis LeMay stood up an Elite Guard to provide specialized security support to Strategic Air Command Headquarters.
Airman 1st Class William Castrovince, an Elite Guardsman from North Port, Florida, with just a year in the Air Force, describes being a member of the first Elite Guard section supporting the USSF as “a great opportunity for development and networking. I realize how much history is behind being an Elite Guard, which makes doing the job even better.”
Under the careful watch of the Elite Guard, the men and women working on Peterson AFB and Cheyenne Mountain AFS can work and reside on base safely knowing they are well defended.