Shooter, explosives test Team Hill Airmen

PAUL HOLCOMB/U.S. Air Force
From the right, Staff Sgt. Jacob Sime, Staff Sgt. Richard Leslie, Senior Airman Dwight Gomes and Staff Sgt. Jason Lyons, all 75th Security Forces Squadron, respond to a report of an active shooter and explosives during a response exercise at building 732, Hill Air Force Base, April 24.
TODD CROMAR/U.S. Air Force
Tech. Sgt. Mark Hudson, 75th Security Forces Squadron, detains an Airman playing the role of an active shooter, Senior Airman David Andrews, 775th Civil Engineer Squadron, during a response exercise at Hill Air Force Base.
TODD CROMAR/U.S. Air Force
Airmen playing the role of hostages lay on the floor at building 732, Hill Air Force Base, while 75th Security Forces Squadron Airmen neutralize an Airman playing the role of an active shooter. Wing Inspection Team members in red vests look on during the response exercise April 24.
PAUL HOLCOMB/U.S. Air Force
Staff Sgt. Richard Leslie, 75th Security Forces Squadron, responds to a report of an active shooter and explosives.
PAUL HOLCOMB/U.S. Air Force
An Explosive Ordnance Disposal robot returns to the EOD response vehicle after inspecting a mock homemade device at the base of a door on the west side of building 732, Hill Air Force Base, April 24. Airmen from the 75th Security Forces Squadron and 775th EOD Flight participated in an active shooter and explosives response exercise.
75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
May 4, 2017

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah  Airmen here responded to an active shooter scenario in and around building 732 on the base’s east side, April 24.

According to Rick Dooley, 75th Air Base Wing installation exercise manager, this type of training is necessary as active shooter events are occurring more frequently.

“Active shooter scenarios provide important training for our Security Forces personnel,” he said. “More and more of these types of events are happening around the United States and our personnel, both Security Forces and unit members, must be prepared to react if it were to happen here.” 

The realistic scenario involved a shooter and hostages inside the building, while outside the building an explosive device was planted at each entrance. 

Airmen from the 75th Security Forces Squadron provided initial response after receiving a call from an Airman who had escaped. The Airman was able to provide information to 75th SFS about the presence of the active shooter and at least one homemade explosive device.

After finding the explosives and establishing a security perimeter, 75th SFS called for EOD support. Airmen from the 775th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight arrived a while later to clear away the explosives. Once clear, 75th SFS entered the building, neutralized the shooter, removed all occupants, and called for assistance with the ensuing investigation.

“That’s the first time that we’ve thrown that scenario at our Security Forces and our EOD troops,” said Dooley. “EOD is used to responding to an explosive device where they have the time to do whatever they have to do. In this situation, time is of an essence because you have an active shooter inside that is a threat to personnel. It puts a different dynamic on their response and their training when a shooter is involved.”

The scenario unfolded under the observation of Wing Inspection Team members, who evaluated the response and provided guidance.

“It’s imperative that we be able to integrate and function smoothly, effectively and efficiently with other coordinating and responding agencies,” said Tech. Sgt. Molly Callen, a WIT member and EOD technician assigned to the 775th Civil Engineer Squadron. “Our objectives were to ensure the capabilities of our unit and our base to respond to a less-conventional incident and ensure our unit’s ability to mitigate the hazard.”

Dooley and Callen said the scenario response went well.

“For the first time seeing this situation, I think they did very well,” said Dooley. “Their response when they saw that [unexpected] device, then backed off and waited for EOD, was perfect.”

Callen added, “They did outstanding. Both they [EOD] and Security Forces integrated better than I could have anticipated. This was a first-time for this scenario for this installation and they integrated very well together. The operation went very well.”