Keep Those Shields Up
By Master Sgt. David J. Loeffler, 144th Fighter Wing
/ Published November 29, 2011
October 1, 2011 -- People are panicking as protesters and rioters crowd the parks and streets. Power is intermittent, supplies and food are running low and access to utilities, services and financial institutions are severely limited.
A situation that could easily be ripped from current headlines was presented to the 144th Security Forces squadron during their Riot Control Training Exercise. The Security Forces members received detailed training in crowd control, tactical formations, riot control shield use and riot suppression techniques.
"We are seeing more and more activity within the civilian population and rather than using a more severe weapon tactic we are training in non-lethal capabilities" said Staff Sgt. Raul Amezcua of the 144th Security Forces Squadron. "Our training today focuses on the proper use of the shields to maintain the integrity of our security forces team and to best protect our team members from assaults with bricks, bottles and rocks.
The teams assembled into pre-planned tactical formations which were dependant on the situation they were faced with. With inter-locked shields the teams moved forwards towards the protesters and violent rioters. When the situation called for quelling agitators the wall of team members would split and a specialized team would quickly advance, suppress the agitator and bring him back into the formation for detention.
"At first it was a little intimidating seeing all of the rioters, but when our team got in line and set up like we practiced, it was strong and I felt that we were prepared." said Senior Airman Leticia Holguin of the 144th Security Forces Squadron. "I feel secure in the unit and I know they have my back."
Many of the Security Forces team members, who have either practiced riot control in deployed environments or in law enforcement scenarios, brought real world experience to the training.
"The training that the team received today was in riot control and crowd control which is a mission we carry state side and overseas." said Master Sgt. Jimmy Schiotis the 144th Security Forces Squadron Training Manager. "It got the team into the mindset of what we might actually do if there was a state emergency or civil unrest and our forces we're called in to deploy, defend and help state civil authorities."