Honoring our past and present Defenders: National Police Week at Laughlin Air Force Base

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Keira Rossman
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

In the heart of Del Rio, Texas, Laughlin Air Force Base is a testament to aviation training excellence. Beyond the planes that take flight, lies a silent force dedicated to preserving peace and security—the Defenders of Laughlin's 47th Security Forces Squadron. During this past week, Team XL celebrated National Police Week to honor and recognize the extraordinary contributions and sacrifices made by law enforcement officers in the line of duty. This week provided an opportunity for dialogue, reflection, and appreciation of the invaluable role Security Forces plays. 

"The significance of Police Week is to honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their local community or their country," said Tech. Sgt. William Slifer, 47th SFS kennel master. "As military law enforcement, we honor our fallen military members from all wars past and present, stateside and abroad."  

The week-long observance, held from May 15 to 19, began early Monday morning with a memorial ruck around base. As the days unfolded throughout the week, Team XL had the opportunity to participate in a Pistol Excellence in Competition tournament, and golf tournament. To end the week, a closing ceremony was hosted; it featured a base Honor Guard six-man flag fold and fallen Defender’s guard mount call. 

The final closing ceremony formation mirrored a typical guard mount call, however, fallen Airmen were added to the roster to speak their names and recognize their service. 

Beyond the camaraderie and friendly competition, this commemorative week serves as a time of remembrance and gratitude. To better understand the personal significance of National Police Week, we spoke with Defenders at Laughlin Air Force Base, asking them what this week means to them.   

"National Police Week means remembering the fallen to me," said Arlene Ogan, spouse of the 47th SFS senior enlisted leader. "During our ruck, we remembered a Lieutenant who was killed while my husband was deployed. We sent his mom a picture of us carrying a memorial of him during our ruck. So, to me, letting his mom know that we still remember and honor his memory is very meaningful."   

"National Police Week to me means honoring the people before me, who have fought to the point of sacrificing their lives to save everyday people," said Senior Airman Damian Dominguez, 47th SFS visitor control center clerk.    

"To me, it is paying respect to the dedicated people who lost their lives in the line of duty," said Staff Sgt. Gizem Brooks, 47th SFS criminal investigator. "When you go from one base to another, you realize the 14 fallen security forces Airmen had deep connections among the bases. Knowing that it could be you is eye-opening."   

"It's a time to get not only the law enforcement community but the emergency services community together to remember and to celebrate those who have given the ultimate sacrifice," said Staff Sgt. Brian Wise, 47th SFS superintendent of training. "Ever since I was a kid, I've wanted to be law enforcement. Being a part of this community for so long, this week means a lot to me. There are people who have given that sacrifice in my job, even in my duty position, for me. To set aside that time to recognize and remember those who have given that sacrifice has always meant a lot."   

As we bid farewell to this week, let us carry forward the spirit of National Police Week, honoring and supporting those who protect and serve and remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting others.