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Security Forces sergeant fighting his way to Olympics

by Nick Stubbs
Thunderbolt staff writer

Master Sgt. Michael Richards was a key player in security upgrades at MacDill, creating a substantially safer environment and securing hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding to ensure MacDill is a safer place from terrorist attacks.

The hard work of the 6th Security Forces Squadron team member recently earned him an honorable mention in the annual American Society of Industrial Security competition, in which those in police and security fields are honored for their performance.

Richards admits he was humbled by the achievements of his fellow nominees and says receiving an honorable mention from the worthy group was both exciting and a surprise.

From firefighters who risk their lives saving fire victims to police officers who put it all on the line to break up criminal activities and recover tons of illegal drugs, all were among those considered for the prestigious award.

"With the quality of the other people in the competition, I was in awe when I heard the citations read off about what some of them had done," said Richards, who worked to bolster everything from the base perimeter security to funding additional equipment including 22 vehicles to support the Security Forces 100 percent increase in manpower.

Among his accomplishments was training and deployment of 13 personnel to Cuba and Afghanistan to escort captured Al-Quieda and training of 41 British military personnel deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

But the work beefing up MacDill security was the backbone of Richards' work and it's a job he says is ongoing.

"Terrorists never sleep so Force Protection initiatives can never slow down," he said. "It's a continuing process and we are always trying to improve and make it more secure."





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