Shoot, Move, Communicate!

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Sarah Pokorney
  • 124th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Two Airmen barked "SET!" as they skidded to a halt and assumed a ready position with rifles raised behind the remains of a silver sedan riddled with gunshot holes.

As the dust settled, the Airmen heard two teammates behind them yell, "COVER!" and they responded with "READY!" Their teammates yelled "MOVE!" as shots from simulated enemy fire rang out and they bolted for a pile of rocks ahead. After reaching cover, they yelled "SET!" to tell their wingmen they succeeded. The process started all over again, with one team per cycle, until they reached their destination at the end of the course.

This scenario played out over and over during the day as 37 Airmen of the 124th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) completed their first 124th Fighter Wing "Shoot, Move, Communicate" training course at the Orchard Combat Training Center near Gowen Field, Idaho, May 5.

"While one person moves, someone is always covering them until they reach their destination," said Airman 1st Class Jarad Torres, a guardsman from the 124th SFS, who participated in the training.

This training teaches these guardsmen to react to a hostile shooter by using cover and effective communication to maneuver and engage the target. It is a new annual training requirement throughout the Air Force so that National Guard and active duty security forces can deploy together with the same training and work as a cohesive team in a combat situation.

"The benefit of being out in the field is that we have obstacles similar to the deployed environment. We have actual buildings to use here. We can actually set up and use these buildings instead of having to visualize a scenario," said Tech. Sgt. Jason D'Elia, 124th SFS Active Shooter and Shoot, Move, Communicate training instructor.

The course at the Orchard Combat Training Center included an outdoor range where Airmen darted through dirt and sagebrush in search of cover while simulated enemy fire rained down from shooters perched on cliffs on either side of the course and from atop a two-story plywood structure. The course also offered a more urban scenario where the troops applied the "Shoot, Move, Communicate" principals while their teams navigated through unfamiliar buildings to engage "enemies."

Later in the day, the trainees played out these scenarios and engage their "enemies" with simulated rounds that are similar to paint ball bullets, which allow the Airmen to know if they've been hit because: 1) they hurt and 2) they leave a mark. This simulated fire provides the most realistic setting because the trainees are actually firing shots and being shot at while practicing their new skills.

Master Sgt. Steven Kober, of the 124th SFS, explained that the trainees are far more likely to act as they would in a real-world scenario if they use the simulated rounds in training because they actually hurt. The trainees are required to wear special face protection in addition to their field gear to ensure that, even though they hurt, nobody will get injured from the simulated rounds.

"This is one of my favorite training days, I got to be a HMMWV convoy commander on the way out and use the radios. Then when once we got here, we are out shooting with the (simulated) weapons for the day," said Torres.

The "Shoot, Move, Communicate" training can translate into many scenarios. It can be used in training in the field or in urban environments or even in training conducted on base. It prepares security forces Airmen to respond, using the same tactics to engage a hostile enemy in a wartime situation, an active shooter on a base or in a civilian populated urban area.

"I've never been deployed but, after talking to sergeants that have, it's nice to know that we train the way we fight," said Torres.

Kober explained that the 124th SFS will continue the training every few months until all of their Airmen are trained and continue to improve the course with new scenarios as they come back for their annual training requirement. They will also incorporate the "Shoot, Move, Communicate" skills in the training that they do here on base to ensure that their troops keep these skills sharp by practicing them throughout the year.