SFS trains to extinguish internal threat
By Airman 1st Class Torey Griffith, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 19, 2010
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
He went to work, just like any other day. Through the gates and in the door of the shop, greeted by his favorite dirt-bag staff sergeant with a snide remark about how he needed a haircut. But today was going to be different ...
Instead of the usual anger he felt when his day was destroyed by harsh words before his first cup of coffee, he smiled.
"I'll start with you," he said,as he drew his Glock .40 from his jacket pocket.
Although it happens for many reasons, it is happening more and more throughout society. Shooters enter crowded workplaces and open fire, killing as many as they can, sometimes, even themselves.
The 509th Bomb Wing Security Forces Squadron, and many others throughout the Air Force are training to deal with these potential threats from within, hoping to reduce the number of casualties if such situations occur.
"With today's ideology, we're finding the possibility of an active shooter more and more possible," said Robert Gainous, security forces training Instructor. "Training is now more important than ever. We train to stop the perpetrator and stop the loss of innocent lives."
Unfortunately, the prevention of these kinds shootings is nearly impossible.
"If a person decides to take an active role in a shooting, there's really no way to stop them," Mr. Gainous said. "While there are indicators someone may go 'over the edge,' there's no absolute guarantee they will be involved in an active shooting."
Quick and effective response was the goal of the training exercise conducted March 24, 2010, here.
"Our job is to protect Whiteman's populace," said Staff Sgt. James Burrton, 509th SF training instructor. "The hands-on training we do makes us conscious of the possibility of an actual active shooter and shows us how vital it is to be tactically sound."
Bringing that possibility to life is critically important to all servicemembers.
"The most common mistake is the belief that it won't happen here," said Mr. Gainous.
One assurance Whiteman members have, is the reliance on one of the largest and most heavily-trained security forces squadrons in the Air Force.
"We are all conscious and fully appreciative of the significant responsibility we bear in regards to the protection of our critical national resources," said Tommy Hutfles, security forces training instructor. "However, as parents, brothers and sisters ourselves, we are also incredibly in tune with our responsibility toward our human resources. That's a part of my career I have taken to heart for nearly three decades."
Should a shooting occur on base, Mr. Gainous suggests the following:
"The best advice is to get as far away from the situation as you can," he said. "If you are confined in the same building as the shooter, try to barricade yourself inside a room, call 911, and provide as much information as you can to law enforcement."
"Personnel should not try to confront the shooter unless their lives are in peril. Listen to Security Forces directions; yours and others' lives may depend on it."