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By Wesley Farnsworth
88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

While many people are still fast asleep in their beds, the day begins for Staff Sgt. Kenzie Kattich, a patrolman with the 88th Security Forces Squadron.

Kattich is assigned to A Flight, which works the day shift for the installation from 4:30 a.m. until around 2:30 p.m. But Kattich’s day begins well before that.

“I get up at 2:30 a.m. each day and I work out at the gym before work,” she said. “I typically focus on back muscles and cardio in the mornings.”

Once the workout is complete, Kattich heads in to start her shift.

“When we arrive, the first thing we do is arm up and hold guard mount, which is where we get backbriefed on everything that happened throughout the shift prior to us before going out to our assigned posts,” she said. “My job is to patrol the base, making sure everything’s in good order, and respond to calls I’m dispatched to throughout the shift.”

“I’m also getting certified as a dispatcher, which involves sitting in the control center and dispatching people to different incidences and alarms as they occur,” Kattich said.

“I usually stick around and I like to be the last one to turn in just to make sure that everybody else gets turned in and gets home safe,” she said. “Then I go home.”

Her husband, Staff Sgt. Tristen Kattich, also works as an 88 SFS patrolman, but he’s on the 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. shift.

“So I’m able to spend a couple hours with him each day before he goes into work,” Kattich said. “After he leaves, I go back to the gym, then come home and finish things up before heading to bed.”

Training

As Kattich points out, though, the job doesn’t completely revolve around patrolling and dispatching. It also involves countless hours of training to ensure you are ready for anything at a moment’s notice.

After basic training, Kattich says she began a 14-week training course in the Security Forces Academy at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

Airmen are put through literally every bit of training imaginable — from hand-to-hand combat and tackling suspects to how to use less-than-lethal items like a baton or Taser. In addition, all the different articles within the Uniform Code of Military Justice are closely reviewed and trainees practice responding to various scenarios such as domestic-violence calls and other high-intensity situations.

“They’ll have you do jumping jacks, pushups and then make you run a couple laps before immediately sending you into a domestic-violence situation where you have to try to calm the situation while your adrenaline is pumping and your heart rate is going up,” Kattich said. “I think it is super beneficial, especially because in the real world when your adrenaline’s going, it’s good to have those fundamentals to fall back on.”

Once you get to your duty station, the training only continues.

“You still have to do 218 hours a year with the training section at your duty station,” Kattich said. “Every month, we do training of some kind. Some of it is looking over forms and documents to ensure we know how to properly fill them out, while other training is hands-on, doing less-than-lethal training, like using the Taser or baton, and hand-to-hand combat. “We also have to actually live-fire our weapons every quarter to remain proficient. So there’s a lot of training; it never stops.” 

Why SFS? And some keys for success

“I’ve always wanted to be a cop, and plan on being a cop when I get out,” Kattich said. “So while most people come into the Air Force open-general and get blessed with this job, I actually chose Security Forces as my career.”

Enlisting was probably the “best decision of my life,” she added. “If you asked me four years ago, this would not be my answer because I was an 18-year-old (and) fresh out of high school,” Kattich said. “But now that I’ve been in a minute and I’ve actually gotten to see different states and meet different people and actually do the job, this is one of the best things I’ve done and I’m thinking about staying in.”

Kattich believes one of the keys to success is being flexible.

“We were just working eight-hour shifts last month and now we’re working 12 hour shifts,” Kattich said. “So be flexible, and plan accordingly, especially if you have families and whatnot.”

Another key to success is learning to take care of yourself.

“You also need to put your physical health, spiritual health, social health and especially your mental health before all else,” Kattich said. “Sometimes, we get lost behind the rank or under the beret and we forget that at the end of the day we are all human beings. We all go home, take our uniforms off and do what makes us happy. You have to embrace the Air Force’s second core value of ‘service before self’ and remember that the mission comes first and that we’re on the clock 24/7, 365. However, without healthy troops, there is no mission success.

“So whatever self-care looks like for you — whether it’s seeking mental health treatment, hitting the gym, playing video games, cooking, hanging with friends and family, music, art or any other activity — find what works for you and don’t judge others on what works for them.”

“There is only one you in this world, so take care of yourself,” Kattich said.

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