by By Senior Airman Kate Thornton
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
11/25/2015 - RAF MILDENHALL, England -- As
Airmen shuffle into the classroom with a general consensus to simply
endure yet another "death by PowerPoint," Staff Sgts. Michael Garrison
and Daniel Montgomery, 100th Security Forces Squadron trainers, prepare
to teach valuable defenses against a very real threat: active shooters.
The difference with this expeditionary active shooter training is its
emphasis on threats at deployed locations, as well as during travel to
and from deployments. This new training was implemented Oct. 1, 2015, to
prepare deploying Airmen for an environment where firearms are
potentially more prevalent, and where they might be armed, appointing
them to protect themselves and others from active shooters.
"When we were tasked to create this training, we could've just done the
slideshow, but we wanted people to be afraid," Garrison said. "We wanted
to use simulated-munitions so they'll have the mindset to not get
Like most formal training, there was a PowerPoint presentation and even a
short YouTube video featuring the "run, hide or fight," instructions
from the Department of Homeland Security, but then the Airmen were
forced outside of their comfort zone and into the shoot-house.
"With the state of things in the world right now, we all need a
heightened sense of awareness," said Tech. Sgt. Richard Maurer, 100th
Maintenance Group NCO in charge of the maintenance operation center and
recent student of the training.
Airmen from all career fields are participating in the training - the only requirement is to be qualified to deploy.
When in a deployed location there's a possibility that service members
from any branch of the military, including foreign military members,
could be armed. This leaves room for error and heroism. After Airmen
first enter the shoot-house, they're taught a series of tactical
movements during an active shooter threat. Students are taught this
purely for defense - not to pursue taking down the active shooter. They
would use these movements to run, hide or fight, but if armed, they are
then obligated to protect those around them who are unarmed in their
attempt to do so.
"I've never had this type of training before," Maurer said. "The use of simulated-munitions made it so much more realistic."
There have been multiple threats in the world recently, some involving
active shooters, and nobody really knows how they'll react in that exact
moment, but this training is designed to help.
"In the past, we used the rubber guns and said 'bang bang'," Montgomery
said. "When you actually have simulated-munitions flying at you, your
senses kick in and you can know even just a fraction of how you might
react in a real situation."
Although it's more interactive than the average computer-based training,
these are skills no one wants to use, but according to subject matter
experts, these Airmen are ready.