By Dave Smith
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — In light of events such as the 2011 Frankfurt International Airport and Kabul Airport active shooter incidents, the Air Force implemented a tier-two level active shooter training class for all deploying Airmen.
The Expeditionary Active Shooter Training is part of the redesigned Expeditionary Readiness Program. The first round of the two-hour long class took place for 25 attendees at the security forces training center at Peterson Air Force Base on September 20. Implementation of the program was October 1.
The training is a reflection of a change in the way the Department of Defense is handling active shooter situations, said Tech. Sgt. Scott Willis, 21st Security Forces Squadron. Typically active shooter training is centered upon workplace scenarios, but the new training requirements take into account recent events.
“What we did not do is train non-combat personnel for active shooters in a deployed environment,” Willis said.
Upon notification of a pending deployment, Airmen will be slated for the class as part of the deployment process. The training gives Airmen the proper foundational tools to defend themselves and their teammates, in the event of an active shooter incident whether in the workplace or in a deployed situation.
The Expeditionary Active Shooter training enhances the 21 Space Wing Unit Level Active Shooter Response Training, something Willis said is not offered at any other base to his knowledge.
With the recent trend of violence against members of the military and law enforcement it is not a matter of if these incidents will occur, but when, Willis said, which explains the urgency in implementing these courses.
“The main purpose is to teach (individuals) how to escape, evade or fight through an active shooter situation,” he said. During the training Airmen will receive some history of active shooter incidents and teamwork training followed by learning how to handle the physiological and psychological stress.
In active shooter situations there are three basic responses a person will have, Willis said, to either freeze, fight or flee. The training is adapted to prepare the person to respond properly whichever way he or she responds.
To handle the extra load the new training added to the security forces squadron’s workload in keeping up its usual mandated training, trainer duties are being shared among the Front Range security forces squadrons. The first two weeks of the month training is held at Peterson and conducted by the 21st SFS and 721st SFS respectively. The third week is handled by 10th SFS at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the last week of the month by 50th SFS at Schriever AFB. The rotation allows deploying Airmen a weekly training date to accommodate short notice deployments.