Unit Focus: Security forces train for perfection

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Heather R. Shaw
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
A terrorist attempting a base takeover or a co-worker gone crazy are situations most of us hope would never happen, but what if they did? Such daunting catastrophes are exactly what Vandenberg's 30th Security Forces Squadron leadership hopes to prepare for during their monthly training sessions.

The 30th SFS training department has five experienced noncommissioned officers who share a desire to ensure Vandenberg's Defenders are ready for any situation. At least once a month, the five trainers teach critical skills to each of the squadron's four flights. Most of the training sessions are hands-on to enhance the amount of knowledge actually retained.

"People learn differently; hands-on is the only way to refine and engrain the muscle-memory and to avoid over-thought," said Master Sgt. Michael Young, a 30th SFS flight chief.

One of the training sessions Airmen have the opportunity to attend is close-quarter combat training. The training is held in an abandoned space launch complex and emphasizes tactical movement and room clearing. Training is made as realistic as possible with the help of volunteers acting as opposition forces and the use of simulated ammunition rounds. The goal is to make it seem as if it there are active shooters attempting to take over the facility. Airmen form teams and take turns climbing up the 13 flights of stairs, winding through dark unfamiliar rooms while attempting to avoid being detected -- something that is essential in real life situations.

"(The training) helps us get familiar with the buildings that we protect," said Airman 1st Class Michael Hernandez, a 30th SFS response force member. "Most of us have never been inside an SLC before, and this training will help us if there is ever a need to enter the building because of a threat."

Airmen also take part in Red Man training, in which the trainer wears a large, padded bodysuit for protection and to add difficulty when the trainees attempt to take him down. The added weight and size is meant to simulate circumstances usually dealt with when the suspect is of larger stature. The training is essential for learning proper techniques in the event that a use of force is needed due to suspect resistance.

"We want to teach the troops to not be afraid of using force if it's needed," said Staff Sgt. Jesse McKee, a 30th SFS trainer. Learning when to actually use force requires practice and training.

The trainers not only teach scenarios, they also qualify Airmen for position-specific job requirements. Qualification training involves anything from use of force training, such as baton or electronic stun gun use, to self aid and buddy care.

The qualification training actually requires the Airman to be stunned by the electronic stun gun, said Sergeant McKee. Physically experiencing the training helps them make better judgment calls because they know what the weapon can do and when they are able to use it.

"The training helps the Airmen react the way they should," said Sergeant McKee. "Practice makes perfect."

The combination of on the job training and participating in hands-on scenarios enhances what the 30th SFS is prepared to handle. By preparing for worse case scenarios, the Defenders are ready for anything, regardless of the extremity of the situation.