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Eyes on target: Robins Security Forces train in active shooter drill

Photo of Airmen with weapons

Airman 1st Class Matricia Howard, 78th Security Forces Squadron defender, works on maneuvering with a weapon during active shooter training at the Guardian Centers of Georgia in Perry Sept. 24, 2020. The 78th SFS makes an effort to conduct active shooter training as much as possible to be prepared in the event of a real world situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tommie Horton)

Protecting people and property are two main functions of the 78th Security Forces Squadron at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Another important part of the job is keeping Airmen’s tactical skills sharp in case of possible threats - like an active shooter. In preparation for such a scenario, squadron members participated in a two-day exercise which covered everything from footwork to entering a room to neutralize a threat.

PERRY, Ga. --

Protecting people and property are two main functions of the 78th Security Forces Squadron at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

Another important part of the job is keeping Airmen’s tactical skills sharp in case of possible threats - like an active shooter.

In preparation for such a scenario, squadron members participated in a two-day exercise at the Guardian Centers of Georgia in Perry, Georgia, Sept. 17 and 24.

“We have made it our mission to do as much active shooter training as possible so we will be prepared if that were to happen at this installation,” said Christina Marie Costa, 78th SFS training instructor.

Photo Airmen with weapons drawn
Members of the 78th Security Forces Squadron practice room entry maneuvers during active shooter training at the Guardian Centers of Georgia in Perry Sept. 24, 2020. The 78th SFS makes an effort to conduct active shooter training as much as possible to be prepared in the event of a real world situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tommie Horton)
Photo Airmen with weapons drawn
Eyes on target: Robins Security Forces train in active shooter drill
Members of the 78th Security Forces Squadron practice room entry maneuvers during active shooter training at the Guardian Centers of Georgia in Perry Sept. 24, 2020. The 78th SFS makes an effort to conduct active shooter training as much as possible to be prepared in the event of a real world situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tommie Horton)
Photo By: Tommie Horton
VIRIN: 200924-F-UI543-2428
Most of the squadron’s exercises take place on the base.

However, Costa said having the opportunity to run drills at a larger and unfamiliar complex offers better practice.  

“Off base they are out of their comfort zone and dealing with the unknown. This helps take our training to the next level,” she said.

Photo of Airman with weapon
Senior Airman Anthony Richard, 78th Security Forces Squadron response force leader, keeps aim on his target while maneuvering with a weapon during active shooter training at the Guardian Centers of Georgia in Perry Sept. 24, 2020. The 78th SFS makes an effort to conduct active shooter training as much as possible to be prepared in the event of a real world situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tommie Horton)
Photo of Airman with weapon
Eyes on target: Robins Security Forces train in active shooter drill
Senior Airman Anthony Richard, 78th Security Forces Squadron response force leader, keeps aim on his target while maneuvering with a weapon during active shooter training at the Guardian Centers of Georgia in Perry Sept. 24, 2020. The 78th SFS makes an effort to conduct active shooter training as much as possible to be prepared in the event of a real world situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tommie Horton)
Photo By: Tommie Horton
VIRIN: 200924-F-UI543-2368
The Department of Homeland Security defines an active shooter as a person who is attempting to kill people in a confined space or populated area.  Those armed individuals usually have no pattern to their selection of victims.

One aspect of active shooter training involves learning the safe way to enter a room and surveil it while looking for a shooter or multiple shooters.

“It was kind of like everything you see in the movies, but you don’t get to do in real life,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Powell, 78th SFS Base Defense Operations Center controller. “The maneuvers we made were similar to moves in video games I’ve played, but this was definitely an adrenaline rush.”

After several hours of practice, the Airmen put into action what they learned using “Simunition”.

Simunition is a type of nonlethal training ammunition that can be fired through military service weapons. 

The participants were divided up into teams and placed in a building where they had to find and capture three active shooters.

Costa said some Airmen were struck by bullets and felt their sting.

“The simple act of getting shot provided some immediate feedback. If they got hit, chances are they did something wrong. This is the place to make mistakes and learn from them,” added Costa.

Senior Airman Anthony Richard, 78th SFS Response Force leader, believes what he learned will help him in his present job and those to come.

“I’m interested in working as an agent with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Bureau of Investigations or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” said Richard. “This was a great opportunity for us all. They broke us down and built us up so we will be ready for whatever.”