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137th SOW security forces participate in Oklahoma County Sheriff SWAT training

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Brigette Waltermire
  • 137th Special Operations Wing

Six members of the Oklahoma Air National Guard participated in SWAT training with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office in and around Oklahoma City, Monday through Friday, from Oct. 28–Nov. 8, 2019.

Each year for the past six years, the 137th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron has taken the opportunity to participate in special weapons and tactics training with local law enforcement agencies within Oklahoma County. It is not a required readiness or training item for anyone in the squadron, but that makes the training itself more valuable for the members who participate.

“This was really cool and probably some of the best hands-on training of my military career so far,” said Airman 1st Class Harley Jones, a member of the 137th SOSFS. “Until now in my military career, the only training I’ve had was in tech school or on-the-job training, so I learned a lot during this course that I didn’t know about – especially things like applying tourniquets and the other medical stuff.”

The ten-day training was a challenge for the members, as none of them had ever done any kind of SWAT training before this experience.

“Our Airmen are learning many new tactics, techniques and procedures that will allow them to integrate with local law enforcement in the event that an incident occurs on base,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Emerson, commander of the 137th SOSFS. “This training fosters ongoing partnerships with Oklahoma County and helps form cohesive teams that are better prepared to work together.”

Incidents like an active shooter can occur on a military base, and the security forces members must be able to work with local law enforcement who will come to the base to aid in those kinds of emergencies. This training is necessary if these counterparts are to come together and work as a team when they are in an emergency situation that doesn’t allow time for practice.

“We incorporate the extra skills gained at OCSO SWAT school into our training, which drastically increases our operational and response capabilities for real-world tactical responses on base, and also allows us to build interagency relationships,” said Tech. Sgt. Lucas Wagner, training manager for the 137th SOSFS.

For the first five days, the SFS members spent time in the classroom learning tactical skills through firearms drills, several different entry methods for buildings and rooms, vehicle assaults, use of ballistic shields, use of stun grenades as diversionary devices, breaching, officer down drills, use of night vision, and use of pepper spray and impact munitions like less-than-lethal bean bag rounds.

In the second week, the six SFS participants worked in a team of nine with three SWAT team members from the Ardmore Police Department – practicing what they had learned using their tactical gear and simulating ammunition in their weapons during training scenarios conducted at course sites throughout the Oklahoma City metro.

“I feel more confident, and I learned a lot working on a team with other policemen,” said Jones. “At one point, I was kind of getting a technique wrong, and one of the guys from Ardmore took time to correct me and show me how to do it. Now I feel like now I have more skills I can use to have my wingman’s back on the job.”