BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Suddenly, a vehicle appeals in the rear-view mirror. A bright light flashes, followed by a loud, paralyzing bang. By the time the suspect is capable of realizing what’s happening and decides to react, their vehicle is surrounded by eight armed military personnel screaming demands through the window.
Members of the 460th Security Forces Squadron spent their weekend training this scenario, and many others, with members from the Adams County Sheriff Department in preparation of the new Emergency Services Team on Buckley Air Force Base.
Although many bases already have ESTs, a team of this skill capacity is brand new for Buckley AFB.
“We’ll do the same tasks and have the same responsibilities as a civilian Special Weapons and Tactics team,” said Staff Sgt. Kyle Hart, 460th SFS patrolman.
In early March, Hart held tryouts for any member of the 460th SFS who wanted to be part of the team. The tryouts consisted of a timed obstacle, an interview and a weapons qualification. The obstacle was made up of a half-mile uphill run, followed by dragging a 90-pound dummy 50 meters, then sprinting about 100 meters where a jammed door needed to be opened using a battering ram, and finally each contestant finished with five burpees. This was all completed while wearing gear that weighed roughly 40 pounds.
“For this team, we were looking for 11 to 15 people who are driven, enjoy being part of the security forces career, and are physically and mentally ready for any given situation,” said Hart. “With the diverse, well-trained members within the 460th SFS, we had zero issues finding those people.”
One of those highly motivated Airmen was Airman 1st Class Nicholas Rauch, 460th SFS member.
“I took this opportunity to gain more experience in my career field,” said Rauch. “Not only is it a nice change of pace from working the gate, but it also adds experience that will transfer into the civilian sector as well.”
With Hart’s three years of experience on an EST in Montana, he and his leadership agree that the key focus right now is getting the team members confident to approach any situation. To do this, they plan on participating in as many training opportunities they can.
“We will train once a month as a team, but we also have the opportunity to attend many other schools for advanced training,” said Hart. “We don’t want to deploy our personnel into a situation they can’t handle. We will go to as many schools as possible, and continue to develop operational skills that allow us the greatest opportunity of success.”
Only one month after the tryouts have been completed, they have already proved their ambition to learn. Buckley’s EST teamed up with Adams Country Sheriff SWAT members for a three-day training course.
During those three days, they learned strategic maneuvers as a team while walking through a building during a possible hostage situation or barricaded suspect, how to approach a vehicle, how to safely and comfortably add a K-9 unit to the team and learned safe, tactical maneuvers while firing their weapons.
“Due to incidents happening more and more, we are in need of special teams with special tactics and special solutions to problems,” said Paul Gregory, Adams County Sheriff Department academy director and training unit commander. “I think that having a team like this, which is capable of providing those special solutions, on Buckley AFB is very critical.”
After the training was complete, the team felt much more confident in their ability to react to the worst situation. Which, in their career field, is always a risk. Although they may feel more confident, they know they still have plenty of training in their future to make this team successful.