By Alethea Smock
21st Space Wing Public Affairs Office
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Tactical training including weapons proficiency and suspect apprehension was on the agenda recently for a 21st Security Forces Squadron Airman.
First Lt. Anthony Loden, 21st SFS weapons and tactics officer, was one of the many members Air Force-wide to participate in the specialized weapons and tactics training April 7-11, joining other SFS Airmen at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
Progressive Combat Solutions, a company who trains military and law enforcement personnel by preparing them respond to acts of violence, criminal encounters and sudden attacks using the decision-making process known as the OODA Loop (Observe, Orient, Decide and Act), a concept originally coined by the Air Force, provided the training to the Airmen.
“In today’s environment, threats such as active shooter are realities,” said Master Sgt. Peter Maraia, Air Mobility Command Security Forces Enterprise Learning Office representative. “Defenders must be tactically sound and experts with the tools of their trade in order to effectively eliminate such threats.”
The Airmen honed their live-fire marksmanship skills by firing at the shooting range and practicing force-on-force with dye-marking cartridge rounds. According to one student this was the most beneficial training he has participated in since joining the military.
“The experience allowed me to gain immediate feedback on proper techniques in close quarters combat situations,” said Loden. “The weapons handling techniques taught at this course are more effective than some of the things we’ve learned in the past. Being a weapons tactics officer means I am always learning new tactics, techniques and procedures to bring to my unit.
“One of the initiatives I will bring forward is the necessity of training more frequently,” he said. “We have a wonderful facility in the old BX now used as a training facility for (21st SFS) so we can move from being qualified with our weapons to being proficient.”
“Everyone in the Air Force has to qualify on weapons including security forces; but this training is geared specifically towards enhancing the proficiency skills of the Security Forces career field so they can get really good at using a weapon and apprehending members with proper force because it is their primary job,” said Col. Randall Richert, Air Mobility Command chief of security forces. “We want to make sure the security forces Airmen are experts with the tools they use for defending themselves and the members on the base during incidents.”
After each war the military has had the tendency to lose certain skillsets they gain during combat. The AMC chief of security forces is creating training to retain combat skills learned in recent wars while getting back to the basics and polishing garrison skills the Airmen use for day-to-day duties.
“The goal of the training is that the SF members attending will take what they learned here back to their units to teach other SF members and improve the skills of the Airmen who are not so proficient,” said Richert. “For the next six to eight months we (AMC) plan to document the progress of Airmen who receive the training to see what it is we can do better with the goal of expanding the training across the whole Air Force.”
“Every day we learned something different, whether it was shooting techniques or force-on-force,” said Senior Airman Terrell Brandon, McConnell AFB, Kansas, security forces trainer. “This training is different because there is more force-on-force. Here we learned how to communicate and shoot at the same time rather than one or the other. It was as realistic as possible without shooting live rounds at each other.”
Brandon said they practiced firing positions, stances and drills, learned different ways to conduct force-on-force training and new ways to enter and clear rooms and buildings.
“The instructors did a great job putting it into perspective,” said Brandon. “I hope to see more training opportunities like this available in the future.”
(Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade, 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs Office, contributed to this story.)