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‘This is the way’: Malmstrom Defender gives back

Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron vehicle readiness center NCO-in charge, poses in his custom-made Mandalorian suit and in his Air Force uniform Jan. 15, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron vehicle readiness center NCO-in charge, poses in his custom-made Mandalorian suit and in his Air Force uniform Jan. 15, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Neri is a member of Mandalorian Mercs Costuming Club, which promotes the interest in Star Wars and gives back to the community through charity and volunteer work. (U.S. Air Force illustration by Devin Doskey)

Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron vehicle readiness center NCO-in charge, poses in his custom-made Mandalorian suit Jan. 15, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron vehicle readiness center NCO-in charge, poses in his custom-made Mandalorian suit Jan. 15, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Neri is a member of Mandalorian Mercs Costuming Club, which promotes the interest in Star Wars and gives back to the community through charity and volunteer work. (U.S. Air Force photo by Devin Doskey)

Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron vehicle readiness center NCO-in charge, poses in his custom-made Mandalorian suit Jan. 15, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron vehicle readiness center NCO-in charge, poses in his custom-made Mandalorian suit Jan. 15, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Neri is a member of Mandalorian Mercs Costuming Club, which promotes the interest in Star Wars and gives back to the community through charity and volunteer work. (U.S. Air Force photo by Devin Doskey)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. --

Most people think of security forces to be a black-and-white, cut-and-dry career field, but one 341st Security Forces Support Squadron defender shows he can get creative, too.

Since his childhood, Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, 341st SSPTS vehicle readiness center NCO-in charge, has been captivated with the Star Wars franchise, helping others and tapping into his creativity.

When he arrived at his first duty station, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Neri found the perfect combination in Star Wars costuming clubs.

“One of my coworkers introduced me to costuming and showed me there are organizations out there who use it for charity work,” said Neri, “As a cop, I love being able to help people, but upon discovering I could do it while being a character for Star Wars, I was hooked.”

His first step toward volunteering with the group was designing and building his own costume.

“I wanted to start working on a Boba Fett costume because he has always been my favorite character,” said Neri. “My first build was in 2015 and, to this day, I’ve built five full kits, including one for each of my kids for Halloween.”

His passion for costuming continued to his second duty station, Keesler AFB, Mississippi, where he discovered the Mandalorian Mercs Costuming Club.

Similar to his career in the Air Force, Neri found himself in a group with strong values of self-improvement, family and community. The MMCC gathers at local Star Wars events and gives back to the community through charity and volunteer work.

“Just like the Air Force and security forces, the MMCC really is like another family and I know that wherever I PCS, I’ll have a clan to lean on for support,” said Neri.

Neri also counts on his military family as the 341st SSPTS vehicle readiness center NCOIC. In this position, he is responsible for coordinating SF vehicle operations and maintenance with the on-duty missile security forces squadron, base-side security forces and the 341st Logistics Readiness Squadron.

“I manage Air Force Global Strike Command’s largest Security Forces Group vehicle fleet, worth over $44 million and control over $16 million in SFG equipment,” said Neri.

Working both within his squadron and across three additional organizations, Neri has to count on his team to complete the mission efficiently.

“We ensure the 341st SFG defenders are able to make it to and from a 13,800 square-mile missile complex as quickly and safely as possible,” Neri stated.

With 10 years of military service and over 80 hours of volunteer work, Neri plans on making a career of the Air Force and stay active in his Star Wars costuming community.

“I love being a cop and have made some really great, lifelong friends along the way,” said Neri. “I am thankful for the opportunity to serve my country and to be able to pursue my passion for volunteering in the local community.”