Gunfighters bring realism to active shooter training

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The 366th Fighter Wing Inspection Team and 366th Security Forces Squadron took a new approach June 18 to ensure airmen know what to do in case of an active shooter.

Unlike previous active shooter exercises, this one began three weeks prior to the actual event.

"I had to change my mood on a regular basis with the people I work with, along with other people in the squadron," said Senior Airman Kyle Honeycutt, an airman assigned to the 366th Operations Support Squadron flight records office, and the role player pretending to be an active shooter. "Just going in there and playing a character that isn't myself is really hard to do."

Having Honeycutt display the common signs of someone who's under stress tested the members of the 366th OSS ability to recognize those signs and take the necessary actions.

"There were more people I didn't work with making comments to me, just asking how I was doing than I expected," said Honeycutt. "People in my work center were trying to get me to go talk to the chaplain, offering to go to the chaplain with me."

The exercise began in the commander's office where a simulated argument began and shots were fired.

During the active shooter exercise, some of the airmen who were "shot" were given a card stating their injuries, such as "shot in the arm," so when medical personnel showed up they could treat the victims properly.

Once a call was made to Security Forces they reported to the scene immediately. Suited up, they entered the building to apprehend the active shooter. Sweeping the area, they cleared the way for first responders to come in and assist with the injured.

"The goal was not only to evaluate first responders' ability to react to an active shooter, but also the OSS's ability to react to an active shooter in the workplace," said Staff Sgt. Paul Wrenn, 366th Security Forces Squadron standardization and evaluation.

These exercises test Air Force member's knowledge of the proper steps to take if there is an active shooter, identifying the warning signs and taking the proper steps to prevent one.

"The big thing with active shooters is that it can happen anywhere and anytime," said Wrenn .