RAFairman's Blog

An RAF Airman's Blog

You think it’s cold…

It’s cold out there.

Really cold.

With more snow and ice on the way.

But as you spend 15 minutes de-frosting the car, or trudging along through icy and snowy streets to get to work – or even better to get HOME at the end of the day…spare a thought for those in the Services who are on Guard Duty right now.

A normal Guard Duty consists of 7 days of 12 hour shifts – either days or nights (6am-6pm/6pm-6am) and is basically standing on a gate checking passes. There’d normally be two people – one pass checker (unarmed) and one “covering guard” (armed) on each gate, where you greet all visitors to the station and make sure they have the correct identification documents and a correct reason to get onto the station. If you are really lucky, you might get to go out on a patrol of the station fenceline – two people again, basically going for a stroll to put a presence out on the ground.

The basic reason for a guard duty is to deter terrorists. It’s the idea that is a station has effective security then the terrorists won’t try to attack a particular base and will look for a less well defended target instead.

Now you are not out there in the cold for 12 hours, they are normally 2 hours on, 2 hours off…but as you wait for 15 minutes for the bus to turn up and remember how cold you got – imagine standing still for 2 hours outside. It’s dull. It’s boring. It’s not doing the job we exactly joined the RAF to do – we joined to be Engineers and Suppliers and so on..But it’s very important and means that the rest of us on station – particularly those who live on station can rest a little easier knowing the station is guarded.

But it’s made a whole lot more difficult by the weather. And weather like we are having at the moment is probably the worst. There is nothing worse than being cold.

It’s not fun, but it’s something we have to do. And I know I have one coming up soon, but thankfully “rank has it’s priviliges” and I’ll be supervising the guards…and I’ll be inside for a lot of the time!


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