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NEWS | March 29, 2010

Randolph AFB security forces learn to deal with 'active shooters' in exercise

By Sean Bowlin 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs OL-B

Randolph Air Force Base security forces tested their readiness to deal with the threat of an active gunman during a training exercise held March 24 inside the old Base Exchange.

Tech. Sgt. Bruce Harrison, 902nd Security Forces Squadron NCO-in-charge of training, said early that morning four squads of four security forces Airmen and Air Force civilian guards were taught team movement, building approaches and formations, how to deal with shooting victims and hostages and how an active shooter's victims will react in violent situations.

"We want our security forces to know the history of active shooter incidents and we want to train them not just to establish a cordon of the area, but also to to get on scene quickly - and to stop the shooter fast," Sergeant Harrison said.

Just after the noon hour, each squad took turns being evaluated in three different scenarios--dealing with an active shooter with simulated dead and live victims; performing a methodical search of the building's rooms while dealing with an active shooter; and finally, engaging in a worst-case scenario of multiple active shooters and panicking hostages.

"This training will get more intense as it evolves," said Staff Sgt. Jeff Reyes, 902nd SFS instructor and exercise evaluator.

After a squad of Airmen entered the BX while being tested on their actions during the exercise's initial scenario, it searched victims' bodies and took out the active shooter, firing simunition rounds at him, Sergeant Reyes praised its members for their search and movement to contact.

"You all did a slow, methodical type of search after entering," he explained. "Then you heard shots and went right to where they were coming from and eliminated the threat. That was textbook; you did a great job."

Capt. Richard Reeder, 902nd SFS operations officer, agreed the squad performed well. He added the simunition rounds, similar to paintball bullets, added a realistic element to the training because with rounds flying, security forces Airmen were forced to take cover "and do this right."

"This is something that could possibly happen here and we want to be prepared for it," explained Captain Reeder. "We've been doing this type of training for three years and it blends right into security operations down-range. It's not something you're going to learn here and then forget."

Master Sgt. Eric Lopez, an Air Education and Training Command exercise observer and evaluator, said throughout the major command's bases, security forces are training to deal with the threat of active shooters.

"Countering the active gunman threat will be practiced in exercises by security forces from the flight level through to the base-level. It's key to educate and train our police forces to deal with this," he added.

Sergeant Lopez also said literature about how to deal with active shooters would be published for retirees using base facilities and for Airmen, their families and civilian base workers.

To get more information on the 902nd SFS's active shooter training, call Sergeant Harrison at 652-2744.