48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
12/9/2015 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- The hallways echoed with the sounds of gunfire. Airmen scrambled for shelter as opposing forces scurried about amidst the confusion.
In light of events such as the Charlie Hebdo and the Chattanooga Recruiting station active shooter incidents, beginning Oct. 1, 2015, the Air Force Chief of Staff implemented expeditionary active shooter training as a requirement for all deploying Airmen.
Since then, Staff Sgt. Joseph Betancourt, 48th Security Forces Squadron training supervisor, and the Defender University team has led approximately 10 deploying classes through the real world active shooter scenarios.
According to Betancourt, realistically, Airmen aren't always going to be armed and their three basic responses will be to either freeze, fight or flee. The training is designed to prepare the person to respond properly.
"We, as Security Forces, are training the base populace how to react, where to move, how to escape safely, how to properly barricade, or if need be, to fight," Betancourt said.
Acting as a bystander, SSgt. Daren Daniels, Detachment 4 unit training manager, recalled that the training had an element of fun, but remembered having the sense he was being hunted. The use of simulated munitions increased the urgency and importance of the training.
"You never know your neighbor's mental readiness; you never know how they will react to day-to-day situations," Daniels said. "As Airmen, we need to be ready for anything, especially in the event we have to engage with the adversary."
With the recent trend of violence against members of the military and law enforcement, it's not a matter of if these incidents will occur, but when, which explains the urgency in implementing these courses.
For Daniels, the most valuable portion of the training was to learn how to think aggressively in high-stake situations, to remain vigilant and always have a plan. The tactics learned in the expeditionary active shooter training keep Airmen Forward, Ready, Now, in deployed environments or at home station.