Defenders learn to shoot, move, communicate

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Airmen from the 52nd Security Forces Squadron dashed from one obstacle to another as the deafening sound of gunfire echoed overhead here Aug. 22.

"Keep your head down and your elbows tucked in," yelled Staff Sgt. Adam Fagan, 52nd SFS training instructor, as the Airmen returned fire and tried to get closer to the enemy during "Shoot, Move, Communicate."

"Shoot, Move, Communicate" is a training exercise that allows security forces members to train in a real-time scenario and communicate over the sounds of combat in a controlled learning environment.

"The main goal of this training is to know how to shoot and use cover while moving toward a specific objective," Fagan said. "If they were to actually engage with an active shooter on base, they can get behind cover, move up and engage the threat with minimal injury to anyone on the team."

This annual training also partners the security forces Airmen's rifle skills as they learn different carrying techniques and remedial actions to take if their rifle malfunctions.

"There are things that need to be committed to memory, like how to fix a rifle that has [malfunctioned]," said Staff Sgt. Kristopher Mcintosh, 52nd SFS patrolman. "A jam should be fixed in a matter of three to five seconds; that can only be accomplished by practice."

Airmen also practiced transitioning from their rifle to their secondary weapon.

"If something were to happen, it's not some Airman with very little training going out to engage a threat, but a well-trained security forces member who is competent with their rifle and able to move tactically," Fagan added. "It's training like this that makes us an elite fighting force."

The training serves not only as a refresher, but it also ensures Airmen continue to develop and maintain their capabilities to protect vital U.S. assets and hold potential aggressors at risk.

"Little things like sticking our elbows out or exposing our body can be fatal in a combat zone," said Airman 1st Class Laci Mendez, who participated in the training. "We learn these techniques so we don't have those unnecessary risks that could get somebody killed; if we don't qualify on this training, we lose our weapons, which means we can't do our job and defend the base."