The 85th Security Forces Squadron at NAS Keflavik, Iceland, has been named the Best Small Security Forces Unit in the Air Force.

The award is given each year to the top security forces unit with fewer than 115 personnel. The unit from NAS Keflavik was up against 36 other small security force units around the world.

After being placed in the final two, members of an evaluation team visited Iceland for 72 hours to get a close look at the squadron before making a decision.

“Their purpose was to validate mission performance, appearance of personnel, morale and discipline of unit members, availability and condition of equipment, appearance of facilities, perception of the unit installation agencies and unit leadership,” said Capt. Terry Neidecker, operations officer for the 85th SFS.

The other squadron in the final two was at Goodfellow Air Force, Texas. The Air Force director of security forces made the final decision.

The 85th SFS excelled in three main areas that helped it garner the award: mission performance, squadron involvement on base and in the community, and individual performance.

Known as “Defenders of the North,” the unit protects various aircraft, from HC-130 Hercules and KC-135 Stratotankers to fighter aircraft that make their home at NAS Keflavik for months at a time.

Other aircraft often fly through the North Atlantic base and come under the squadron’s protection while on the ground.

“We’ve got a great bunch of folks who deserve this level of recognition,” Neidecker said. “Our troops don’t shut down on holidays, weekends, family days or close for training.

“Sleep well at night, Naval Air Station Keflavik. You are protected by the best security forces in the world,” he said.

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