Shots Fired

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. John Wilkes, Photojournalist
  • 180th Fighter Wing

Shots fired! Possible hostage situation! For Airmen with the 180th Fighter Wing Security Forces Squadron in Swanton, Ohio, these words were the only information given before breaching a house during urban combat training Oct. 1, 2016, at the Maumee Police and Fire Training Center in Maumee, Ohio.

Security Forces personnel began the day-long exercise with a series of attack and seizure scenarios at the training site. Airmen split into groups of two and four and engaged each other while moving from obstacle to obstacle. Afterward, Airman breached a training building to gain a foothold, save hostages and eliminate threats.

“Shoot, move, communicate and Military Operations in Urban Terrain training is a three-dimensional battle space where the enemy can be above, in front, below or behind you,” said Senior Master Sgt. Robert York, operations supervisor with the 180FW Security Forces Squadron. “It is a very slow, violent and deadly process, making MOUT crucial to the success of the Air Force in the modern climate.”

“We qualify at the range every year with both the M4 Carbine and the M9 Service Pistol,” said Master Sgt. Russell Bacon, unit training manager with the 180FW Security Forces Squadron. “Following qualification we conduct shoot, move, and communicate and MOUT training.”

The 180FW conducts exercises regularly to ensure we are ready to provide for America; protection of the homeland, effective combat power and National Guard civil authorities, while developing Airmen, supporting their families and serving in our community. Daily training, conducted in realistic environments under realistic circumstances, ensures our forces maintain the highest levels of proficiency and readiness for worldwide deployment.

Reliance on autonomy is vital in urban environments to save lives and keep pressure on the enemy, according to York.

During the exercise, they donned face masks, goggles, flak jackets and Kevlar helmets. Airmen used training ammunition similar to paintballs to create more realistic training. Using training 2.23 mm ammunition, Airmen entered the building, not knowing what they would encounter once inside.

“During the training we moved tactically, in fire teams, from area to area while neutralizing threats,” said Bacon. “This ensures everyone
is communicating and practicing proper technique.”

“The training was very good,” said Senior Airman Spencer Cupples, a security forces specialist with the 180FW Security Forces Squadron. “It was as real-world as possible.”

Security Forces personnel are the first line of defense for the U. S. Air Force and it is their job to maintain the rule of law on all Air Force installations. The 180FW conducts multiple annual training scenarios to maintain a high state of preparedness and readiness in the event of an emergency.

The safety of our Airmen and community members is paramount. With 60 percent of the U.S. population lying within a 600 mile radius of Ohio, Northwest Ohio offers convenient access to a multi-modal transportation hub including an extensive interstate highway system, one of the most active railroad centers in the country and one of the largest seaports on the Great Lakes.

“We prepare for as many scenarios as we can, maintaining readiness to protect the base and ensure the safety of our Airmen,” said Cupples. “Training like this builds confidence when responding to a real-world emergency.”

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