National Guard Airmen partner with local law enforcement, perform life-saving SWAT training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kasey Phipps
  • 137th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Six members of the Oklahoma Air National Guard trained alongside almost 30 members of the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office and other state agencies during a Special Weapons and Tactics school held by the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office at a variety of training locations throughout Oklahoma, Oct. 26 to Nov. 6, 2015.

The school allowed four Security Forces and two Tactical Air Control Party Airmen from Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City and state law enforcement to learn precise joint operations and procedures that could be used to save lives in real-world situations. The techniques taught in the school can be used directly by SF Airmen, who are charged with ensuring base defense both here and abroad, and TACP Airmen, who perform tactical operations while deployed.

"Collaborating with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office provides great joint training and helps us prepare for local state support and tactical missions," said Staff Sgt. Ryan Delarber, 137th Security Forces flight chief.

The students worked through a wide range of in-depth scenarios and tasks, including trauma care, building and vehicle entry, shield and gas mask use, search and clearance, assessing threats, low light operations, and hostage situations held at the Southern Nazarene University campus in Bethany and at a firefighting training center in Edmond.

"A lot of the scenarios are from situations we've encountered real world, either our team or other teams," said Lt. Jason Ruegge, Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office tactical unit team leader. "We work in reverse order a lot of times and put in place what we want the officers to learn from the scenario. Then we build the scenario backwards."

The 10-day school strives to go further than just education. The rigorous scenarios, which include live-fire simulation ammunition and explosives, are designed to mimic the stress that can complicate decision-making in rapidly changing environments. 

"We try to make the training as real as possible and get their stress levels as high as possible, so that these things come back to them when they are in a stressful situation," said Sgt. Jimmy Lilly, Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office tactical unit senior team leader.

This is at least the 10th year for the SWAT school, and the program continues to develop, said Ruegge. The scenario locations vary each year, allowing Airmen and officers to adapt to their environment and their team members.

The participants of this joint school left with an appreciation for collaborative learning that captures the expertise shared by both law enforcement and military operators.

"Now, we all speak the same language. We understand the tactics. We understand the mission. We can push forward and get it done," said Ruegge.