Faced with imminent danger, a crew of security forces members burst through the front doors of the elementary school and saved a young (simulated) hostage in a matter of moments. They then successfully neutralized the would-be attackers.
This was the scenario the 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron took on during an active-shooter exercise at Vogelweh Elementary School, June 27. Master Sgt. Norman Dominguez was one of the first to render first aid to the hostage. He then picked the hostage up and carried him to safety.
“Training like this is great,” said Dominguez, 569th USFPS superintendent of personnel and administration. “This training allows us to make a mistake [in a controlled scenario] rather than in real life.”
The scenario was completely safe because no real guns were used or allowed in the school; instead they used simulated training weapons. “The training weapons were used to give responding forces the most realistic training environment possible while ensuring the safety of everyone involved in the exercise,” said Chief Master Sgt. Dan Lambert, 569th security forces manager. The active-shooter exercise is a requirement set forth by the Air Force.
The exercise was a way to ensure security forces members train the way they fight. “By our Air Force Instruction (an active-shooter scenario) is an annual requirement within the wings,” said Tech. Sgt. Josh Anderson, 569th USFPS NCO in charge of standardizations and evaluations and lead evaluator for the exercise. “[Active-shooter scenarios are] events that have happened on and off installations worldwide; that’s why we do this.” Amidst all the running, yelling and wounded hostages, there was one thing that their commander, Lt. Col. Christopher Bromen said stood out the most the motivation of his Airmen.
He said, “The idea here was to learn, I saw a lot of hustle and many people just turn [their game face] on; awesome job … this exercise was a success.” The exercise factored out rank as everyone from an airman first class to a first lieutenant was involved in the action. “We are all cops, we can always be called upon at any time no matter where we are,” said Anderson. “If [a military member] is in security forces unit, they can be armed up at anytime to go out and respond to something like this.”
Editor’s note: The 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron would like to thank Vogelweh Elementary School, Jamie Albers, Air Force School Liason Officer; Sandy Meacham, Vogelweh Elementary School principal; Jane Page, Vogelweh, Vogelweh Elementary School assistant principal and the Department of Defense Dependants School.