Airmen from the 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron participated in an active-shooter response exercise May 5 on Vogelweh.
The exercise fulfilled an annual training requirement for security forces members, and sharpen their combat skills.
“Today we conducted active-shooter training for the members of our unit to help prepare them in case of a real world situation,” said Tech. Sgt. Christian Smith, 569th USFPS assistant NCO in charge of training.
During the exercise, which took place inside the vacant Galaxy Theater on Vogelweh, Airmen simulated various trainings such as room-clearing operations and weapons handling.
Smith said the training was designed to be more realistic partly because of the use of Simunition rounds, which are a brand of non-lethal training ammunition, similar to a paintball.
“This training provides concrete realism,” Smith said. “If you try to clear a corner of the building and get shot, then you know you did not clear it properly.”
The training was divided into three phases. In the first phase, Airmen teamed up in pairs and stormed into the theater to shoot at targets. In the second phase, some Airmen went to the upper floors of the building and played the role of the opposing forces. The remaining Airmen infiltrated the stairwell two at a time in pursuit of the enemy.
The third phase of the training was a competition where Airmen guarded a metal box in a room, while the rest of the Airmen attempted to enter the room in an effort to retrieve it while returning fire to the enemy.
Some participants in the exercise considered it an opportunity to enhance their skills in installation defense.
Staff Sgt. Steffan Roverud, 569th USFPS installation patrolman, said it was a good chance to apply what he learned in the classroom through hands-on training.
“Its good training,” Roverud said. “Instead of just watching slideshows and discussing it, you get put into it and experience it with a low level of stress.”
Roverud also affirmed that the use of the Simunition rounds helped provide a more realistic training experience.
“It gives you feedback on what you’re doing wrong,” Roverud said. “If you’re not taking cover properly, you’ll feel it instantly.”
Senior Airman Jesse De Alba, 569th USFPS installation patrolman, said he enjoyed the training and learned important lessons from it.
“I had a lot of fun and learned a lot of things,” De Alba said. “When you get in there, there’s a lot of questions going through your mind, such as who’s in the room, how many are there and what kind of weapons do they have. Obviously the threat is there, but you don’t know where.”
De Alba said it is important for Airmen to be aware of the possibilities of threats on base and to know how to respond.
“Its great training, I think everybody in the Air Force should have it,” De Alba said. “When it comes down to active shooters, it’s unpredictable.”
The 569th USFPS is ready to respond in case of a crisis such as an active shooter explained Smith. This training the Airmen conducted set a standard for the whole unit to follow regardless of who they would be paired up with, he continued
“This installation is well protected,” Smith said, “If ever an active shooter comes onto the installation, the unit has been trained to the same standard; no matter who our Airmen are partnered with at the time, they will handle the situation in the same exact way.”
De Alba said he and other 569th USFPS Airmen stand ready to protect Vogelweh thanks to the training they have received.
“I’m always ready,” De Alba said. “Every type of training we do betters us in some way. … This helps us become better patrolmen for the base to protect the populace, as well as to spread what we’re trying to teach to the other members of the Air Force and the military.”