One Alaskan’s Disturbing Experience
Writer’s Note: Miscommunication between Mr. Stebbins and myself resulted in errors in this original story. This story has nothing to do with Clear AFB Station; this story is about the Ft. Greely Missile Defience Field which is not a nuclear missile site.
Alaska has long been known as Top Cover for America, and author John Haile Coe wrote a book about the amazing military presence which has defined our relationship with the United States of America before and since statehood in 1959.
Private Opportunities for Military Subcontracting
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 established a system of Regional and Village for-profit corporations to allow indigenous people of Alaska to resolve long-standing issues surrounding aboriginal land claims and give them a proprietary interest in success of our Alaska economy.1 As oil began flowing at its peak in the 1980s this plan was working, but several of the corporations were struggling. Some 15 years after the act was passed, Sen. “Uncle” Ted Stevens was able to pass legislation in the US Congress under provisions of Section 8(a) of the Business Development Program to boost success with designated Alaska Native Preference bidding on federal contracts.2
The 8(a) program is the chief federal effort to help small businesses from disadvantaged groups get access to contracts, but Alaska Native Corporations have special advantages not available to others because of amendments pushed through Congress by Sen. Stevens.
Alaskans defended the preferences as a way of helping impoverished people and providing good service to the government, while critics from the Lower 48 said the system is giving Alaska Native firms too much power, damaging small business and wasting money.3
What we know now is this endowment has been a Gravy Train for Alaska Native Corporations–and political windfall for Sen. Lisa Murkowski–after death of Sen. Stevens, August 9, 2010.4
Unfortunately some of these sweet deals have not worked out in the best interest of the U.S. Government but that’s okay because this is Alaska
Security of the Ft. Greely Missile Defense Field is one place where the sweet deal failed miserably.
Sherman Stebbins came to Alaska 20 years ago as a soldier in the U.S. Army. He had a distinguished military career including as an Military Policeman at Ft. Greely Missile Defense (2003-2004), two tours in the Middle East, and was honorably discharged in 2008.
Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.-John Stewart Mill
Stebbins was not prepared for the deterioration of national security he witnessed at Ft Greely Missile Defense Entry Control Facility when he returned to work there in February of 2017. A lesser person might have gone along to get along.
Stebbins: When I got out of the military I worked a couple of different jobs in Delta Junction–mainly for the school district there for almost 10 years. A job came open with the Chugach Native Corporation subsidiary called Wolf Creek Federal Services, Inc. They had a contract for Entry Control, security for the missile field, as a civilian. I applied, I was hired, and went to work there.5
We controlled who entered and exited the missile field complex, continued Stebbins. We were in control of checking IDs, patting people down for contraband or weapons, sometimes we searched vehicles. We were looking for explosive devices or contraband that wasn’t allowed on the missile field. We were basically doing everything within the capacity of security guards–but for some reason, we had the title of Entry Control Officers. They avoided calling us security guards but that was what we were.
I did this very thing in the military, and always being involved in security and knowing how security works—I became troubled about the environment, said Stebbins. They told me to report for duty a certain day. I was taken out to a range and qualified with a pistol I knew very well how to operate–the military Beretta–and I took a drug test. I was issued uniforms, and I watched a couple of videos on a computer. Then the boss, Ryan Lint, Captain of the ECF Guards, says after two days, to come into work tomorrow down at the missile field, and “you’re ready to go.”
I asked: What kind of training is there before you put me down here to do all these things you’re talking about? Stebbins inquired. And his exact words to me were: “Don’t worry about it, somebody will show you what to do when you go down there.” I was set back–absolutely zero training offered–before going to work in this national security installation.
A substantial job with considerable responsibility.
Because the rate of pay for this job was substantial, I expected to be working with highly skilled individuals, continued Stebbins. I found out very quickly that I was not surrounded by highly skilled individuals. My second day of work, a young officer that went to work there just a few days before me, mishandled her weapon when clearing the barrel; the weapon was loaded, it had a round in the chamber, and it wasn’t supposed to. She didn’t even know that her weapon was loaded. So, when she went to clear her weapon, the ejected round from her weapon hit me in the chest! I was standing to her right, she was staring at the weapon, wondering what had happened.
I gave her some corrective training on the spot; I explained to her what her mistake was, continued Stebbins. And, I went to talk to my supervisor at the time, Kaihlin Mahnke, and I said to him: “I have a problem already on day two, a young lady just mishandled her weapon, and she’s acting very confused. Perhaps she needs more training with that weapon. Mahnke rolled his eyes, shook his head, and we had our first conversation about the lack of a training program.
Stebbins continued: The company had no training whatsoever. And it just so happened that another officer walked by–a 20 year Marine, retired gunnery sergeant–and said: “Oh, that girl, she did the same thing to me two days ago.” So, this wasn’t a one time incident, it was something she was repeating because she didn’t know how the weapon functions.
Conspiracy of Ignorance
We were all carrying weapons and we were supposed to be part of a team. But instead of any training I was told to follow the other guards around and do what they do, said Stebbins. I was shocked; this is not how you are supposed to handle security at any level. These were people pretending to be security guards. So my military training kicked in, it’s called Taking Inventory. You take inventory of your surroundings, right?
We had several kids working there that had just graduated from high school, continued Stebbins. I knew this because I had known them in my job at the school district—these were 18- or 19-year-old kids that just graduated–with NO security experience. Many of them used to be custodians for Wolf Creek–literally, they were cleaning toilets one day, brought out here, given a gun and a uniform, and were security guards a couple of days later!
It doesn’t take much imagination to guess what kind of problems were ahead for Stebbins in THIS work environment…
They made us sign some documents, one for receipt of a pistol, and another one was a safety briefing document, said Stebbins. We rarely got a safety briefing. The third document was a daily training document; I signed this for a little while. I watch the sergeants at the end of the shift write some gibberish that we had gotten trained how to do something that day. It got kind of ugly when I finally said, “I’m not signing this document anymore because you’re creating fake training documents.
This was serious enough to Stebbins that he began looking into reporting these infractions of laws and regulations. He hoped to find a competent Alaska State Employee who could assure corrective action under the law from a state licensed corporation to assure security of this missile launch facility dedicated to protecting all Americans.
Guess what the chances were of that happening?
Legal Requirements of Security Agencies
We were supposed to be following the State of Alaska armed security guard program that falls under the Licensing Permits Division, Department of Public Safety, explained Stebbins. Realizing this was a dangerous situation, I filed a complaint with Gary E. Lee, Permits & Licensing Section at DPS. I said: “Something must be done about this, because they’re not following the statutes.” But all this man did was kicked the hornet’s nest–with an incompetent investigation–and walked away. He mysteriously disappeared from State Service a few months after refusing to answer questions I posed to him about the situation.
This writer has known a lot of people who coasted through State of Alaska employment and managed to gain PERS retirement having contributed little of benefit to the good of Alaskans.
Stebbins appealed this finding by PLU to the Alaska Ombudsman and an 18-page report September 20, 2019 came to the following conclusion:
DPS, Permits and Licensing Unit did not thoroughly investigate a complaint concerning fraudulent security guard training practices. Assistant Ombudsman. Denise Duff further reported based on a preponderance of the evidence she did not find that DPS failed to prosecute a security guard agency when they violated Alaska security guard licensing statutes and regulations.
Lee had not done an adequate investigation. Oh shucks. Incompentent Alaska Native Corporations are a protected class. This further highlighted the range of incompetence from the contractor to the State of Alaska agency responsible for assuring compliance with state laws documented by a weak-kneed Ombudsman Report (A2017-1929, Public Report).
By seeking an official review of this situation the workplace became hostile for Stebbins as management circled the wagons. He was naive to expect following of strict protocols to assure security of a nuclear site under these circumstances.
Bring the Management Bullies
Ramsay Price was Site Director for Wolfcreek Greely. Assistant Site Director, Mark Jurgens, is a fired and disgraced North Pole, AK police officer–from illegal workplace behavior–who had taken his dismissal all the way to the Alaska Supreme Court and lost.6
Likely because of Stebbins’ complaint, procedures in the workplace changed abruptly. The false training reports ended, a meaningful firearms training program was implemented, the sergeants began giving officer safety briefings. Someone had falsely reported to the State that officers had ALWAYS worn vests with the word SECURITY emblazoned on them, but it was commonly known those vests had not been provided until July 27, 2017.
Easily proven lies are result of desperation.
And, of course, these guys and their toady subordinates started having meetings with Stebbins to let him know he wasn’t being a team player. Stebbins alleges they were passing over trained security recruits to hire people who would be compliant and subservient in their gang that could’t shoot straight. The last such meeting occurred August 1, 2017 with Price, Jurgins and Lint wherein Price alluded to physical harm if Stebbins was acting as a “whistle blower.”
Stebbins reported the statement as: “You know sometimes whistleblowers disappeared in the past and some haven’t been found.”
Stebbins resigned in what could easily be considered in employment law an act of constructive discharge.7
Stebbins was documenting what he knew was illegal security violations and would act as a whistleblower in a letter October 14, 2017 directly to Missile Defense Commander LTC Orlando Ortega.
FaceBook Shitstorm brings Results
After I left Wolf Creek I started making Facebook postings in Delta Junction, in Fairbanks, in Anchorage, concluded Stebbins. I was calling these guys out by name. I was telling people exactly what happened. Nobody came after me for slander. Nobody came after me for libel because it’s true. The last thing they wanted was for subpoenas to start flying and people having to appear in the court–the dominoes start falling. But, at the end of November 2020 an inside source said: “Sherman, what you’ve been saying finally got to the right person, somebody high. They said military authorities went down to the missile field and disarmed the Wolfcreek Officers–took the expandable batons, pistols and ammunition from the guards in the middle of the day.” About a month later my source informed me the last day of private guards that the *ECF is going to be in April. They lost the contract almost a year early—it wasn’t due to expire until December of 2021. They were terminated April of 2021.
Given what we now know, Americans everywhere can heave a sigh of relief that a Patriot like Sherman Stebbins stepped up in the face of a bunch of Alaska Misfits playing Entry Conrol Officer games at a critical national security facility in the middle of Alaska.
These goofballs should have been assigned to the security detail of Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Note from this writer: I am very gratified to the many people who have trusted me to document their Alaska Stories. I cannot do every one proposed but it is easy to see by reviewing this webpage that hundreds of interviews have resulted in authentic stories from America’s Last Frontier. Several stories are in the que which I hope to produce as soon as possible. If you think you might have a story worthy of my audience of intelligent readers, please contact me. Also, if you enjoy my work I would appreciate any contribution to my struggling efforts after being scammed earlier this year and having to take evasive actions to save my considerable body of work.
-  https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/STATUTE-85/pdf/STATUTE-85-Pg688.pdf#page=1
- 8(a) Business Development program https://www.sba.gov/federal-contracting/contracting-assistance-programs/8a-business-development-program
- Federal contracting preferences for Alaska Native firms spark controversy, Dermot Cole,-July, 18, 2009. https://www.murkowski.senate.gov/press/article/federal-contracting-preferences-for-alaska-native-firms-spark-controversy
- KTUU Report on Sen. Steven’s Death https://web.archive.org/web/20111026025957/http://www.ktuu.com/news/ktuu-stevens-killed-plane-crash-081010,0,1348820.story
- Chugach Native Corporation- Wolf Creek Federal Services, Inc. https://www.chugachgov.com/subsidiaries/wolf-creek-federal-services/
- JURGENS v. CITY OF NORTH POLE, No. S-11847, Decided March 2, 2007.
-  Definition of Constructive Discipline https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructive_dismissal