Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard/General questions


Hi James,

I'm doing a story for a creative writing class and there are a couple of scenes that feature the air force.  Basically, a city is attacked and it's near an air force base so the air force responds.  I hope you can answer a few questions.

Who is in charge of an air force base?  How would he/she identify themselves to outsiders?  I imagine it's hard to say "I'm General X, in charge of X air force base."

What kind of ground vehicles does an air force base keep in response to an attack?  

Is there a name for the type of soldiers that would respond/make a perimter, such as Special Tactics Squadron?

Dennis -

The Commander of the overall base would be the Wing Commander, usually a senior Colonel or Brigadier General.

Realize that, depending upon the "attack" you are describing, you may fall under Posse Comitatus ...

Essentially, the U.S. Armed Forces are under the direcout control of the Federal Government, and are prohibited from getting involved in "states" issues.  If there is merely an attack of some sort dealing with local forces, the military would not get involved, such as a union strike, etc.  But if the attack is from a foreign body, such as the 9/11 attacks, then certainly the military would be mobilized and the full force of their units would be employed.

Most Air Force bases are equipped with the standard armored "hummers" you see in many movies.  As many military bases are becoming "joint" bases, you would see then melding into a single unit comprised of Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine componenets.  In that case you would see a lot more heavy armor mixed in, such as Army tanks and heavy artillery, if it was an Army base that had these vehicles assigned.

I hope this helps in your research.

James Bell

Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


James Bell


I am a retired MSgt (2004) with 24 years experience in the aircrew career field, both as a loadmaster (AFSC 1A2x1) and flight engineer (AFSC 1A1x1). I have been to every continent at one time or another, and regularly flew 300 to 500 hours a year. I have been involved in the operations in Grenada, Panama, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. I can answer most questions you may have about enlisted Air Force life in general, assignments, benefits, and enlisted aircrew operations. NOTE: If you have specific recruiting and/or medical questions about how to get into this career field as a civilian, they have changed since my time, so that is best answered by a recruiter or MEPS. I can answer questions about military personnel wanting to RETRAIN. If you are asking about being an Air Force pilot, please be advised my area of expertise is ENLISTED aircrew operations, NOT OFFICERS.


Loadmaster (AFSC 1A2x1): 7 years - 2,000 hours - C-5A Galaxy cargo plane. Flight Engineer (AFSC 1A1x1C): 7 years - 2,500 hours - C-141B Starlifter cargo plane, 10 years - 3,800 hours - KC-10A Extender aerial tanker. Served as aircrew Flight Instructor, Flight Evaluator and Training Manager

Aircraft Loadmaster Initial Qualification - 1980. Mission Qualification (C-5A) - 1981. Fixed Wing Aircraft Performance Course - 1987. Initial Flight Engineer Qualification (C-141B) - 1987. Mission Qualification (KC-10A) - 1988. KC-10 Initial Qualification Course - 1994. Mission Qualification (KC-10A) - 1995. Instructor Qualficiation (KC-10A) - 1997. Evaluator Qualification (KC-10A) - 2000.

©2017 All rights reserved.