Nellis Defenders ramp up training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Dwane R. Young
  • 57th Wing Public Affairs

The 99th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) continues to modify and advance its training to prepare for potential threats and effectively protect Nellis and its neighboring communities.

In addition to consistent proficiency and readiness exercises, the 99th SFS has been actively seeking specialized training to further develop its Airmen and bolster the squadron’s fitness.

“The Air Force and joint community are evolving with emerging threats, so our training must also evolve,” said Master Sgt. James Burns, 99th SFS training noncommissioned officer in charge and Tactical Response Team program manager. “We are sending our Airmen to receive the best training available so they can bring back that knowledge and experience to our squadron.”

Burns and members of the 99th SFS Tactical Response Team recently participated in Multi-Assault Counter Terrorism Action Capabilities (MACTAC) training with Nevada police and fire departments, members of Homeland Security Investigations and various participating government agencies.

MACTAC developed students to be capable of immediately deploying, locating and neutralizing violent assaults and/or terrorist acts. Groups trained in small-unit tactics, building clearing, officer-down procedures and coordinating rally points, all in preparing for future threats.

“We trained together, so we will all be on the same page if an incident occurred on or off base,” said Burns. “We all know the same tactics, same verbiage; so, when it’s time to respond, we can simply execute.”

In conjunction with joint training, the 99th SFS K-9 Military Working Dog unit recently hosted the Nevada Highway Patrol and members of The Venetian Resort K-9 security team to improve synergy and strengthen their working relationship.

Dog teams each took turns searching aircraft and vehicles at the Nellis Threat Facility for explosives and drugs, while instructors observed and offered guidance.

“For this training, Nevada Highway Patrol brought street drugs that we don’t usually have access to,” said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Halligan, 99th SFS kennel master. “With joint training, we are building a network of cooperation where everyone benefits. One team can offer a different training environment, while another can provide the training tools.”

Tasked with training base personnel, security forces and deploying units on weapon systems fundamentals, 99th combat arms instructors Staff. Sgt. Stephen Buesing and Staff Sgt. Gregory Tomala scouted teaching techniques from fellow law enforcement instructors.

“In this class, I learned a small twist in handgun gripping technique that allows you to fire faster and more accurately,” said Staff. Sgt. Stephen Buesing, 99th SFS combat arms instructor. “We are always looking to better ourselves and our students, so the feedback we bring back from these classes is invaluable.”

Buesing and Tomala also recently received two weeks of advanced long-range sniper training alongside U.S. Army Green Berets in Idaho.

“We have the confidence that if we have an active shooter or a situation where a long-range precision shot is needed, our Airmen will hit the target and take down that threat effectively,” said Buesing.

The 99 SFS has also begun the process of ordering and upgrading weapons systems for their Defenders, including assault and sniper rifles and grenade launchers.

“The goal of our squadron is to be self-sufficient and self-defending,” said Buesing. “We want to make sure that our Airmen have the best equipment to protect our assets and personnel.”

Staying in lockstep with their squadron’s emphasis on training, in the near future, two SFS Airmen will be attending the Las Vegas Metro Police Department academy’s 24-week training course. This will allow them to observe how their civilian counterparts operate. In turn, these Airmen will relay and teach those lessons at home to improve the squadron as a law enforcement unit.

“Every training our Airmen attend allows them to get a little bit better,” said Burns. “They make small gains and refine the techniques we taught them, and no matter how tiny, those incremental changes are what makes the difference when someone’s life is on the line.”