From Texas cop to best warrior
By Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Reed, 136th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 10, 2016
BASTROP, Texas. (Feb. 7, 2016) -- -- "And the Winner is...," the announcer paused.
Most remember saying, "when I grow up," as a kid, but few will remember what career they loved at the time and fewer reach their childhood dream; U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Hein is one of the few.
"I was like 8 or 9-years old and my dad was walking around with a video camera, videotaping all us kids and interviewing us. I was in the backyard shooting a BB gun of all things. I was shooting tin cans when he asked me, 'what do you want to be when you grow up?' I said, 'well I want to be on SWAT. I want to be a cop and be on SWAT," said Hein.
Hein followed through with his dream and became a police officer with the Richardson Police Department in Richardson, Texas. He also became a training noncommissioned officer assigned to the 136th Security Forces Squadron, Texas Air National Guard, at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas.
He enjoys setting goals and overcoming challenges. His latest challenge is a second attempt at taking home first place in the Texas Military Department's Best Warrior Competition.
"It's pretty impressive to make it twice in a row because he competed against all the guys in his wing and beat them out a second time to get here." said U.S. Army Master Sgt. Shane Ruppel, Texas Army National Guard, the BWC event noncommissioned officer in charge.
The BWC is an annual event that tests the aptitude of elite Texas Air and Army National Guardsmen during three days of physically and mentally grueling events. The events are meant to test the member's endurance, marksmanship, land navigation skills and professionalism. This year, guard members were also joined by Army reservist and Chilean military members.
"I figured I'd give it another try," said Hein. "It was a good experience; it's fun. You get to meet some new people, experience new things and learn some new stuff."
His road to police work began in 2007, when he joined the U.S. Air Force as a security forces member. His first and only active duty assignment was with the 90th Security Forces Squadron, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, where he was a gate guard and patrolman for two years before becoming a member of the elite Tactical Response Force.
"We were dual mission," said Hein. "We had nuclear recapture and recovery and we were also the base EST team, or SWAT team."
The training he received during his time with the Tactical Response Force directly contributed to his success in both his civilian and military law enforcement careers said Hein. It also prepared him for many of the tasks he faced during his first run at BWC. He hopes that the training comes back just as naturally during his second trip here.
The little boy grew up and became a cop, times two. He works long hours to help protect the city of Richardson and trained hard to represent his squadron at the BWC for a second time, and through all that he remains humble.
"I'm not the best, I'm not the strongest, I'm not the fastest and I'm definitely not the smartest, but I do give 100 percent to everything I do," said Hein. "I get that from my dad, he always had the no quit mentality."
The 2016 BWC is over. The competitors stood before a board, wrote an essay, completed a land navigation course in below-freezing temperatures, rucked eight miles, assembled, disassembled and fired a variety of weapons, ran an obstacle course and faced the mystery event.
The announcer continued, "The top NCO for the Texas Air National Guard, from the 136th Security Forces Squadron is Staff Sergeant Steven Hein."
"I didn't think I did that well, but I gave it all I've got," concluded Hein.