366th SFS conducts active shooter exercise while being innovative
By Airman 1st Class Akeem K. Campbell, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 18, 2020
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Tasked to always protect, defend and fight, the 366th Security Forces Squadron Airmen continue to train and come up with innovative ways to enhance their readiness.
“Training is a never-ending process for us,” said Capt. Emily Allen, 366th SFS operations officer. “Anything that we could respond to, we train on. This ranges from the simple routine traffic stop all the way to major accident response exercises.”
The 366th SFS need to maintain constant readiness to respond to an active shooter, and as part of the continued effort to enhance readiness, the 366th SFS conducted an active shooter exercise, Sept. 15, 2020.
“Practice makes perfect, and when it comes to saving lives and neutralizing an immediate threat, timely and effective responses by our Defenders ensures life-saving measures are maximized, said Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Talamelli, 366th SFS evaluator.”
The term Defender is a title for all Airmen in the Air Force that works in Security Forces.
According to Allen, the ultimate goal of this exercise is to eliminate the threat as quickly as possible and to provide aid to injured personnel once an active shooter is no longer a threat. To do this it may require Defenders to work alongside fire department, medical personnel and off base agencies.
Before the exercise began, the 366th SFS spent time to make scenarios.
“Each scenario is dynamic and unpredictable in nature and you cannot plan for a specific active shooter incident, so we develop scenarios that mimic real life events and put our people through the scenario as realistically as possible,” Talamelli said.
These exercises are not without its challenges, such as communication. However this is nothing that the 366th SFS was not prepared for.
“Communications will always be one of the biggest challenges in a dynamic situation like an active shooter,” said Master Sgt. Robert DeGoey, 366th SFS non-commissioned officer in charge of standardization and evaluation. “The radio gets busy really fast, so we have ways to mitigate that and communicate as well as we can.”
Despite the challenges, the 366th SFS Airmen skillfully completed the training.
“The exercise was extremely successful,” Allen said. “We had two fire teams in the facility immediately, and the shooter was taken down in four minutes. Communication in and out of the area was effective, and the tactical execution went smoothly. As with all exercises, we found ways to improve procedures and make us even better in the future.”
Though the 366th SFS trains on a daily basis, they strive to train for situations like this more often to maintain tactical proficiency.
“An active shooter exercise is preparing for a worst case scenario,” DeGeoy said. “We hope to never employ the tactics and procedures in a real situation, but if we have to, I hope the base populace understands that we are ready to defend them at all times.”
Even as they completed a successful exercise, their training is not over. The 366th SFS is adapting innovative ways that can aid them in upholding the enhance readiness.
“We’ve got a lot of momentum within the squadron right now,” Allen said. “We are developing the first School Police Emergency Action Response (SPEAR) for Mountain Home, designed to streamline response procedures for schools on base alongside all on-base and off-base emergency responders.”
Their Defense Support Flight is pursuing various test projects with AFWERX Small Business innovation Research (SBIR) that will grow from technological potential into real-world implementation.
They recently succeeded in flying their Blue Small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) for the first time, and have the opportunity equip it with facial recognition capabilities.
Whether it’s training for an active shooter or adapting different ways to defend, the 366th SFS will continue boosting their readiness and base defenses by using effective and innovative tactics.