EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The 96th Security Forces Squadron is shifting traditional law enforcement training to a more combat-focused approach.
The shift was evident at a recent training session at Eglin.
“Contact left,” yelled an instructor.
The students repeated the communication and reacted to a simulated attacker firing a weapon at them from their left side. They took swift action, moving as a team, returning fire, and moving toward their target until the threat was neutralized.
This scenario was part of the 96th Security Forces Squadron’s new training approach that goes deeper than traditional law enforcement and focuses on ground combat employment, Eglin Air Force Base said.
“The mindset behind this training is to have our defenders combat-ready at all times, not just prior to a deployment,” said Staff Sgt. Dwight Gutierrez, a 96th SFS training instructor.
This new intensive training consolidates most of the required security forces training into a nine-day block. This takes the Airmen out of their typical law enforcement shift rotation, so their focus can remain on the training itself, according to Gutierrez.
According to Eglin, much of the classroom and hands-on training that covers physical combat tactics, casualty care, close-quarters combat, weapons, and more is the same focus area of required defender pre-deployment training. By including it more frequently at the unit level, new SF Airmen experience the training earlier, and seasoned Airmen get a refresher, Eglin said.
The goal is to have all the squadron’s Airmen through this course within a quarter, so new complimentary training from that baseline can occur during the next cycle. The training courses will build upon one another each quarter throughout the year. The courses will repeat at the beginning of the next year.
An Airman, who recently completed the refresher, recognizes the benefits.
“As security forces Airmen, combat is our primary mission,” said Staff Sgt. Richard Leslie, 96th SFS, who taught similar ground combat courses formerly known as Brave Defender here in 2013.
“With this new training approach, we’re ensuring those combat skills are sharp and focused whenever we’re called to use them.”