Warrior of the week: Capt. Brandon Shade

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  • Public Affairs
Capt. Brandon Shade, 71st Security Forces Squadron operations officer, "displays all the characteristics of a warrior-leader," said Maj. Robert Rossi, 71st SFS commander. "He personifies 'Service Before Self' and 'Excellence In All We Do' and is an appropriate selection for Warrior of the Week."
For Captain Shade, an Eads, Colo., native, a true test of service before self came earlier this month with the planned arrivals of two very important people. Not only was he the security forces lead for the visit of President George W. Bush May 6, he was also preparing for the arrival of his and wife Ryan's second daughter, Camryn, May 2.
"During the recent Presidential visit, Captain Shade tirelessly spent an entire week coordinating security for the event with multiple local and federal agencies," Major Rossi said. "He went forward with the same diligence as prosecuting a battle plan; checking and rechecking details, coordinating times and movements, inspecting people and equipment; and always making time to ensure his Airmen knew the plan and their role in executing it. Added to this, among the din of battle, he made time to be with his wife in the hospital while she gave birth to their second child."
Captain Shade met his wife when they were both students at the University of Northern Colorado, where he received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps following graduation in 2000. His first permanent assignment to F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., put him only about an hour from home and his future wife, whom he married in 2002. Their first daughter Cayden, 2, was born during his assignment at Kadena Air Base, Japan.
A suggestion from an uncle, who's a retired Marine major, that he consider a military career is what led Captain Shade to ROTC and eventually a full three-year scholarship. His interest in law enforcement and degree in criminal justice put him in security forces.
"It's a challenging time for our career field," he said. "We have to meet our mission here as well as meeting deployment requirements that can often leave us short-manned. We are moving more toward our wartime mission of air base defense and somewhat away from law enforcement.
"That's what makes our deployments such a great teacher. They provide good experience for the direction the career field is going," said the veteran of a 2004 deployment to Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan.
Coming from an overseas location with a security forces squadron about four times the size of his current unit, Captain Shade enjoys the closeness of the Vance community. "The smaller size allows me more time to help people and deal more with the community, both on- and off-base."
As he balances the demands of being a new homeowner with a recently enlarged family on his off-duty time, the captain plans to get more involved with both communities. He is especially looking forward to spending more time with the Cherokee Strip Archers group. His involvement in competitive archery had him ranked No. 1 on the island when he left Kadena.