by Monica Mendoza
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Airmen from the 21st Security Forces Squadron recently emerged from a five-day, 48-hour intense training course as certified active shooter instructors.
The SFS members attended the instructor course, taught by a private Washington-based company, at Fort Carson Army Installation’s Range 60 – a “town” of blown out buildings, burned out vehicles and dusty courtyards. The Airmen and Department of Defense police were able to conduct building searches, medical assistance and other scenarios they have faced or will face, the course instructors said.
Tech. Sgt. Edward Satterfield, 21st SFS, organized the event, which included 20 other Airmen and DoD police from across Air Force Space Command. The company, Active Shooter Training, is owned and run by a former Marine who is a sheriff’s officer in King County, Wash. The company has taught active shooter training since 2001 and started working with the military in 2007, said Nick Minzghor, Active Shooter Training owner.
“What we specialize in is the stuff that happens after the bad guy is dead – mass medical, command and control, search procedures and multi-team response,” Mr. Minzghor said. “Our scenarios go from the point when the call comes in, to when the SWAT arrives, which could be one hour later.”
In the course, the Airmen and DoD police learned techniques necessary to plan and implement thorough, on-going training for their squadrons, Mr. Minzghor said. Their instruction also included policy implementation and course development.
The training, held May 2-5, gave the 21st SFS additional instructors to maintain continuity in its active shooter training program, Sergeant Satterfield said.
“What we are hoping to do is get all the other individuals in the unit trained up, that way everybody uses the same tactics,” he said. “With how things are today, you may never be with the person you were with yesterday during training. So, if we get everybody together we will all know the basics of how we will set up and how we will enter into a facility.”
Fort Carson’s Range 60 provided the 21st SFS and the other Airmen and trainees with a realistic setting. In one scenario, teams of five were sent into a courtyard, where civilians were screaming, the enemy was down, and there was a wounded person in need of medical attention.
“They have to tactically approach, keep their 360-coverage and make sure no bad guys are around while they deal with the medical problem,” said Doug Deppa, an Active Shooter Training instructor.
The 21st SW has incorporated active shooter scenarios into its quarterly exercises for the past year, ever since the Nov. 5, 2009 shooting on the Fort Hood Army Installation in Texas.
Master Sgt. Jason Smith, Air Force Space Command training and standardization and evaluation superintendent, said the Active Shooter Training course employs the most common sense approach to preparing for a possible active shooter, either in a deployed location or at a home base.
“Our expectation is to be able to get more specifics on what we should do with our active shooter teams,” Sergeant Smith said. “Above all, we want to neutralize an active shooter if that situation were to actually occur.”