204th Security Forces receives new commander
By Capt Randy Saldivar, 149th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 04, 2008
EL PASO, Texas -- Members of the 204th Security Forces Squadron welcomed their new commander in a change-of-command ceremony here Saturday.
Maj. Carl Alvarez took the reins of command of the Texas Air National Guard unit in the ceremony officiated by Col. John F. Nichols, commander of the 149th Fighter Wing in San Antonio.
Nichols praised the unit members for the significant accomplishments they have made. "You folks have done a great job and continue to excel at what you do," said Nichols. "You have a great new commander now who will not only share in the successes you have made, but help you reach even higher goals."
Alvarez comes to Texas from the Alaska Air National Guard's 168nd Security Forces Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base. Among his significant accomplishments, Alvarez led the newly formed squadron from inception in 2000 to being recognized as the Air National Guard's Top Security Forces Unit in the country in 2005.
In 2007, Alvarez was handpicked to command a 196-person, all Air National Guard team to take over base security at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan. Previously, active duty Air Force personnel maintained base security. For Air National Guard security forces to take over a deployed location was a first.
"The pressure was on for the Guard to come through, but Air National Guard cops are top notch, and I had absolutely 100 percent confidence we would not only do what we had to do, but exceed expectations," said Alvarez. "It was the biggest challenge of my career, but the troops I deployed with made the job a wonderful experience. They worked hard and made the transition from the active duty to the Guard seamless."
In 2007, the 204th SFS was selected to conduct mandated "Just in Time" combat readiness training (CRT) to Air National Guard security forces personnel deploying to U.S. Central Command locations. Officials have projected continuation of the CRT mission for the 204th to continue for the next 12 to 24 months. Alvarez will have little time to warm the commander's chair because the 204th will begin training back-to-back classes of around 300 security forces personnel this summer.
Alvarez said he is looking forward to the CRT and hopes to secure it as a permanent mission for the unit. He also intends to build on the reputation of the squadron as a "can do" unit, referring to the 204th's ability to respond to national and state contingencies.
"The men and women of the 204th have a great reputation within the security forces career field," said Alvarez. "I'm honored to have been selected as their commander, look forward to working with them to help train our fellow defenders and serving the citizens of Texas and our great nation."