Visitor control clerks ensure safety, security, exceptional customer service

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cameron Schultz
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – While Team Vance may best be known for training student pilots, an Airman in a flight suit is rarely the first person a civilian meets when they enter the base for the first time.

The job of meeting, greeting and vetting these visitors falls on the shoulders of the Airmen in the 71st Security Forces Squadron, commonly known as Defenders. 

They are responsible for manning the base’s gates and the welcome desk of the Visitor Control Center. 

The VCC is the first stop for civilians who need to gain access to the installation, which at Vance most often includes the families of student pilots on graduation days.

Defenders like Senior Airman Christian Torres, a visitor center clerk, take their jobs seriously. Ensuring the safety of the base population is a big job, and a customer oriented attitude is mandatory for those like Torres who work the front desk. 

“VCC clerks must be able to operate multiple law enforcement systems, while being able to be a very communicative person to civilians and team members,” said Torres.

In 2020, nearly 8,000 people underwent background checks to gain access Vance, according to Anna Eakins, who works at the VCC.

The center is responsible for authenticating individual’s identity and screening, enrolling and determining if they are eligible for installation access, Torres said. The systems the Airmen here use review an individual’s records and search for criminal offences that would prohibit entry to a federal installation. 

There are a lot of crimes that can stop you from coming onto Vance Air Force Base, ranging from assault, narcotics and arson to burglary and murder, said Torres. 

Those 18 and older looking to gain access to the base must present a valid photo ID and be sponsored by someone living or working on the installation. Individuals under 18 may use a school record, report card or a birth certificate issued by a state or territory of the United States.

For more information about accessing Vance AFB, call the VCC at 580-213-5528.