Ellsworth Defenders train to protect
By Airman 1st Class Hrair H. Palyan, 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 04, 2012
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Defenders from the 28th Security Forces Squadron participated in a new active shooter training course in a Combat Arms shoot house at Ellsworth, Aug. 24, as a way of honing the skills necessary to protect the 28th Bomb Wing's most valuable resource -its Airmen.
The course focused on preparing Defenders to rapidly respond and deploy to an active shooter scenario and eliminate the threat, while preventing any harm to innocent people nearby.
Dion Harris, 28th SFS lead training instructor, said the key was to make the exercise as realistic as possible while helping Airmen gain experience with their issued M-9 and M-4 weapons loaded with simulated munitions. He said the shoot house they used for training was designed to imitate different Ellsworth facilities, providing participants with a variety of building floor plans to clear and secure.
"We provided our Defenders with the proper tools, tactics, and procedures to enhance their survivability during this high-risk situation," said Harris. "This course not only taught Airmen new tactics, but also touched on the psychology and characteristics of active shooters based on lessons learned from previous active shooter events."
For some of the Airmen who participated in the course, this training exercise served as their first in the new shoot house located near the Combat Arms facility - helping them gain, "valuable hands on experience," according to Keith Leflore, 28th SFS response force member.
"There is no set way to clear a building or house, so we focus on perfecting our training and ensuring the safety of innocent people," Leflore said. "I learn something new every time."
Alongside Harris, Charles Norman, 28th SFS lead training instructor, explained that an active shooter situation can occur at any time or place without warning.
"These situations normally last no more than 15 minutes and can result in major loss of life," said Norman. "Our Airmen must be able to respond and prevent further loss of life in a decisive manner."
Harris said that as a trainer, he gives individual attention to all of the Airmen he instructs, ensuring they are able to eliminate threats during any type of active shooter situation.
In addition to providing training for 28th SFS members, Harris said he and his staff are available to provide information and training about how to respond to and steps to take during an active shooter event for all base personnel.
"The threat of an active shooter is real," Harris said. "It's important for Airmen across the wing to learn methods such as the run, hide, or fight technique - designed to increase their survivability."