By Tech. Sgt. Brigette Waltermire
137th Special Operations Wing
Modifications to the Main Gate for Will Rogers Air National Guard Base (WRANGB) in Oklahoma City were recently completed on June 19, 2020.
The changes to the previous structure include upgraded anti-terrorism force protection measures that help slow traffic before vehicles reach a pop-up barrier in the ground, which gives Airmen at the gate a longer reaction time to stop anyone who tries to gain unauthorized entry to the installation.
Back in October, construction began on the Main Gate to meet DoD requirements for security forces measures. Plans for the modifications were drawn up in 2015.
“The changes made to the main gate have increased our ability to control the installation entry control point,” said Senior Master Sgt. Randy Akin, superintendent for the 137th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron (137th SOSFS). “This allows the Airmen to have more flexibility during high traffic times … and increases the safety for our Airmen at the gate.”
Some of these changes are as simple as widening the lanes for larger vehicles at the ID checkpoint. Additionally, the approach to the area to search vehicles was widened to better accommodate semitrailers.
“This is a very long process to get a project done, from design to funding to execution,” said Conrad Cruze, military construction specialist for the Oklahoma Military Department and 137th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron (137th SOCES) engineering assistant. “We worked with SFS and took their inputs into consideration within our funding limits. This gave them a really good upgrade overall.”
Perhaps one of the most unique components of the modifications is the exterior lighting improvements. The exterior lighting was converted to LED, which stands for light emitting diode. This more energy-efficient lighting can use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. The lighting is now set on sensors for the SFS Airmen who work the night shift, or mid shift, to be dim throughout the night but to activate and get brighter when the gate is being approached.
“Safety plays a big role at night for the Airmen at the gate, so anyone — or anything — approaching will trigger those lights,” said Akin. “This helps them be more aware of their surroundings and able to more effectively respond in a situation.”
Other changes include replacing the asphalt for the entry with concrete. The timing for this presented a challenge because temperatures and conditions have to be just right for concrete to be poured and cured. In total, work on the project lasted the projected six months and was completed with $640,668 in funding from the National Guard Bureau (NGB) Logistics and Installations Directorate.
“I’ve been involved in the design and construction on the project since the beginning and became the construction inspector, or project manager, once we began construction,” said Daniel Norton, construction inspector for the Oklahoma Military Department and retired member of the 137th SOCES. “I did everything I could on that project to get it right. What was important to me, and makes me happy about completing this project, is that my work directly helps add to the protection of everyone on this installation.”