HomeNewsArticle Display

Nellis Defenders ramp up training

Airman enters building holding a rifle during training.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Wesley Stumbaugh, 99th Security Forces Squadron tactical response team (TRT) member, enters a room under smoke cover during a training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, April 7, 2021. TRT members are required to attend Special Response Team training, where they focus on marksmanship and high-risk incident response such as terrorist incidents, barricaded incidents, drug raids, high-risk warrant apprehensions and active-shooter scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dwane R. Young)

Airmen in a hallway holding rifles during a exercise.

99th Security Forces Squadron tactical response team members, clear a building during a training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, April 7, 2021. In this training scenario, an individual barricaded himself in a building and had taken hostages. The TRT objectives were to breach the building and methodically clear rooms until they identified and neutralized the threat. Then, Nellis Fire Department Airmen responded to remove and provide treatment to injured hostages. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dwane R. Young)

Airman points a rifle during training.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Nelson and members of the 99th Security Forces Squadron tactical response team (TRT) member, clears a room during a training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, April 7, 2021. The TRT is utilized during high-risk incidents and specialized events, and they provide protective security for high-visibility visitors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dwane R. Young)

Airman looks though sniper rifle scope.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gregory Tomala, 99th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, looks through the sight of an M24 Sniper rifle at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, April 7, 2021. Combat arms instructors are responsible for training base personnel, security forces and deploying units on firearms fundamentals. They also provide maintenance and inspections to ensure weapons are serviceable. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dwane R. Young)

Dog bites Airman during training exercise.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Isaac Bourque and Staff Sgt. Charles Pope, 99th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handlers, demonstrate a K-9 assisted capture of a suspect at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, April 13, 2021. Security forces Airmen train for 12 weeks to become military working dog handlers and maintain a vigorous on-the-job training schedule to increase efficiency and strengthen the relationship between the dog and handler. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dwane R. Young)

Dog bites Airman in training exercise.

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Matthew Halligan, 99th Security Forces Squadron kennel master, practices biting and release techniques with Esme, a military working dog (MWD) at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, April 13, 2021. MWDs are trained in law enforcement, how to detect drugs and explosives and to assist handlers in investigations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dwane R. Young)

Dog barks during training exercise.

Esme, 99th Security Forces Squadron military working dog, barks during a training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, April 13, 2021. During training, handlers vary locations and scenarios to expose working dogs to varied working environments and high-stress situations in order to maintain their proficiency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dwane R. Young)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --

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.”