by Master Sgt. Kelly Ogden
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
9/24/2013 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. -- Most
of the time you'll find Yvette Orellana serving as a federal police
officer for the U.S. Forest Service in Santa Barbara, Calif., patrolling
in her squad car, writing tickets, protecting natural resources, as
well as serving her local community as a mentor to teens heading down
the wrong path.
One might assume that in her offtime in federal law enforcement, she'd
enjoy a quieter life reading books, walking alongside the beach or just
enjoying a slower pace. Nothing could be further from the truth. In her
"down-time," she trades in her police uniform for camouflage and serves
as an anti-terrorism officer for 12th Air Force (Air component to U.S.
Southern Command, or AFSOUTH).
"In a traditional security forces squadron I belong to a unit and would
serve as either a team leader or a fire team leader," Orellana said.
"Here the job is totally different, you aren't just protecting the base -
you're in charge of all of the security for Department of Defense
personnel in our area of responsibility (AOR)."
Tech. Sgt. Yvette Orellana, who has served in the U.S. Air Force for 11
years as both active-duty and an individual mobilization augmentee (IMA)
in the security forces career field, has had several deployments and
assignments that have taken her all over the world.She views her current
position in the 12th AF (AFSOUTH) Force Protection Office as the best
assignment to date.
Orellana says that as an Airman she didn't get to see behind the scenes
and didn't always understand the operational and tactical direction she
was given Time here at AFSOUTH, has opened up her eyes to the level of
time, effort, and operational planning that goes into making every
mission and exercise a success, she says.
For Orellana, operating as traditional squadron-level security forces
versus working at the Numbered Air Force (NAF) was like night and day.
The most difficult part of her job is getting people to realize that
there are dangers in their environment, and practicing operational
security (OPSEC) at all times.
"We do things that are for other people's own good, but they don't
always see that until something bad happens," she says. "We have the
responsibility of making sure everyone follows regulations and policy
for equipment storage, weapons accountability and equipment
accountability because if it gets stolen it falls on us."
During a recent deployment in support of New Horizons Belize, Orellana
deployed for fourmonths as the anti-terrorism officer for several
medical readiness training exercises where she assessed vulnerabilities
on all of the schools, hospitals, hotels and restaurants, coordinated
and supervised more than 50 Belizean Defence Force members. She says her
favorite part of the deployment was interacting with the locals and
learning their culture.
Having a father from Guatemala and being able to speak fluent Spanish
assisted Orellana in removing some of the culture divided between U.S.
service members and their partner nations in Central America, South
America and the Caribbean. She said she was better able to create
partnerships and long-lasting friendships despite the fact that
male-dominated military structures in central and south America were not
accustomed to working with females.
"It's a double-edged sword because some of the countries we visit have
very male dominated militaries and by my position, I often have to
interact with their higher echelon leaders," Orellana says. "The U.S. is
very diverse in the fact that a man and woman can do the same job, and I
think that we are kind of showing these other countries that if given
the opportunity, a woman can succeed in any position."