OK Guardsmen attend multi-agency rifle school
By Senior Airman Kasey Phipps, 137th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 31, 2016
WILL ROGERS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Okla. -- Members from Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma City, joined officers from local police agencies to sharpen their firing skills during Patrol Rifle Operator School, May 24-26, 2016, at the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office Training Facility, Oklahoma City.
Three 137th Security Forces Squadron members and one Tactical Air Control Party Airman from the 146th Air Support Operations Squadron, attended the school, which was held by the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office.
"It gives us repetitive training on the basic fundamentals - weapon manipulation, malfunctions, maintenance, understanding what your sights are telling you, what different rounds do at different ranges," said Staff Sgt. Luke Wagner, an assistant course instructor from the 137 SFS who attended the Sheriff's Office Patrol Rifle Instructor School with several other WRANGB Airmen the week before. "As security forces members, if we ever ran into a real world situation, we're going to be under a lot of stress. The only way to train for that is to do everything right in training here. "
The course provides agencies with unique, cost-effective law enforcement training that allows the students, who oftentimes find themselves acting as the first line of defense against violence, to participate at no cost.
"This gives us more opportunity throughout the year to train," said Wagner. "It also doesn't cost us anything, except for ammo. Plus, there are more schools available through the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office than there are in the Air Force."
Overall, the course gave students the opportunity to work alongside agencies and military branches that they would potentially work with in real-world hostile situations.
"I've worked with many policing agencies during my normal patrol duties and natural disasters," said student and Oklahoma Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tyrie Haught, a CH-47 Chinook pilot with the 2-149th General Support Aviation Battalion, Lexington, Oklahoma, and also an Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office deputy sheriff. "Military, law enforcement, first responders ... we all end up working together. It's good to work all of our differences out in a training environment so that when we get to a real mission, we get right to work."
This level of teamwork and tactic trading allows the Sheriff's Office Patrol Rifle Operator School to grow each year, despite the cut in the Sheriff's Office Training Division's budget, allowing agencies to learn from each other and create better mission outcomes in the future.
"We can't let our programs stagnate," said Sgt. Jim Lilly, a staff training deputy with the Sheriff's Office Training Division. "We feel like we have an obligation to be on the same page with the people that are involved in law enforcement. When we all get a big call, we're all going to be safer and more effective at what we're doing."
WRANGB Airmen and local law enforcement agencies alike attend several of the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office's average of 275 courses a year, fulfilling yearly training requirements and also taking advantage of the ammo-only entry fees to receive training that goes above and beyond any agency requirement.