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INTERVIEW WITH TWO SOLDIERS AT NELLIS AFB

By Elwyn Henderson

  On Tuesday, February 6th, media members who had a Week of Game credential were invited to see the planes the Thunderbirds were scheduled to fly over Allegiant Stadium at the conclusion of the National Anthem.  Due to rainy weather, the event was moved inside and we just got to see one of the planes, but we did get to visit with an Army soldier who was sent to Nellis for the event and an Air Force gentleman who was stationed at Nellis.  We got some interesting info from them a.nd wanted to share it

     One of the men we talked to was Mr. Beach who was stationed in Alaska.  We first asked him what it was like to be stationed there considering the long nights in the winter and long days in the summer.

     “It’s a great place but it takes some time to adjust but some people there seem to love it, but you struggle with the winter.  The winters can be hard, darker and colder.  When we left to come down here a couple of weeks ago it was negative 20.  We had a lot of snow; a record snowfall this year.  It’s a great place but getting adjusted you’ve got to remind yourself to go to sleep because people do things like midnight barbeques.  It’s really hard to get to sleep in the summer because you’ve got all that energy from the sun being up all the time.”

     “It can be challenging when you come to work in the winter and its dark when you get to the office where you’re working for the day and you get home and it’s also dark.  I know a lot of people get home early in the evening and want to sleep but it’s important to keep up your physical activity and still hit the gym, take your vitamins and minerals.  You might be deficient in Vitamin D so you need to make sure you’re getting all the vitamins and supplements you need, but it’s definitely doable and it’s really a rewarding place to work.”

     He told us he had been stationed in Alaska for 7 years and we asked how much longer he felt he would be stationed there.

     “Yeah, I really love it there. I’m not quite sure when I’ll move, but potentially sometime in the next couple of years.  The military could really send me anywhere.  That’s one of the things I love—you really get to see the world and see different communities and different environments and get to experience different cultures.”

     We also talked with Mr. Braxton about a military dog that he worked with and asked what the dog did.

   “This is Grief.  He’s a Belgian dog.  He belongs to Sgt. Arista.  He is a patrol protection dog so he finds bombs and explosive material, but he also does regular Police work like finding bad guys and biting bad guys and things like that.  He came from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.  We have our own breeding program so we make our own dogs from ones we buy from Germany.”   

     We then asked what the dog did at Nellis, and he said, “for the most part we work the search pen.  We look for 18-wheelers and trucks and search for any type of explosive materials or drug materials.   Other than that, just our basic patrol man, ride around and if we get alarms they can help us apprehend somebody by biting or finding somebody as well.”

     We also asked him to talk about the robot dog.

     “The robot is mainly to work perimeter.  He can sit in his office and just send the dog out around the perimeter and he can find somebody.  That’s basically his job.  He is just basically a robotic version of this (live) dog.  If somebody’s jumping the fence on the perimeter we can send the robotic dog to go find them.”

     We concluded by asking if he knew how many people actually knew about Area 51 and had access to it.

     “I do not.  I wouldn’t know anything about it at all.  I’m pretty sure that somebody with a security clearance way above me would be the ones to know about it.  They are way away somewhere else.  I have no idea who they are or what they do.”

     We had a very enjoyable experience and really appreciated these fine folks giving us the time to discuss their jobs.

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