310th Space Wing trains close-quarters battle tactics with El Paso County SWAT

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Marko Salopek
  • 310th Space Wing

As part of an ongoing partnership between the 310th Space Wing and the El Paso County SWAT team, Airmen assigned to the 310th and 710th Security Forces Squadrons participated in a three-day close-quarters battle tactics course lead by El Paso County SWAT, Feb 2-4, here.

As a member of El Paso County SWAT from 2014-2021, Senior Master Sgt. Daniel Chase, the 310th SFS operations superintendent was pivotal in the development of this mutually beneficial relationship.

“I wanted to enable a way for our Airmen to access the best training available. The SWAT team trains on these tactics monthly and puts them into practice daily, there is no better group to train our Airmen,” said Chase.

The lead SWAT team instructor, who will not be named due to ongoing special investigations, as a former Green Beret with the 19th Group Special Forces, explained the room entry and clearing tactics they use and practice were created by special forces units.

“In [special forces] units, they have individuals specifically tasked to find the best gear and develop the best tactics. All they do is find ways to gain that little one-millisecond edge in an engagement. We have been using this tactic since 2017, and the Los Angeles Police Department, Green Berets and Delta Force are all using the same tactics that we are teaching here today,” said the lead SWAT team instructor.

The training course was designed to progressively increase in difficulty, beginning with classroom lecture on the specifics of employing the tactic and ending with multi-room scenarios involving two-way firefights using non-lethal munitions and incorporating unarmed bystanders. Airmen ran each scenario repeatedly until they perfected the tactic, with instructor critique after each run.

“We are training the Airmen’s neuro-pathways through hundreds of repetitions, so that in a high-stress high-stakes environment their body will react as they trained, like a reflex,” said Chase.

Chase further explained that when you must clear a building where you anticipate being shot at, physiologically your stress response spikes and an individual will experience an elevated heart rate, fine-motor skill loss, and tunnel-vision. In each training scenario, they add as many stress elements as they can, including the use of sim ammunition, acclimating the Airmen to working through the experience of being shot at and minimizing the stress response.

Senior Airman John Hubbard, 710th SFS defender said, as an officer with the Glendale Police Department, he recently trained with the Denver Police Department on responding to an active shooter which, which while similar in content, was not as thorough or effective.

 “With all the repetition, opportunity to learn from your mistakes and get it right, I’m taking away a lot more from this,” said Hubbard.

As part of the cooperative arrangement between Schriever SFB and El Paso County SWAT, the team now has access to schedule and utilize the training facilities here, with access to a classroom area, a large virtual training system, and a network of rooms with walls on a track system, allowing the rooms to be reconfigured to suit the desired environment and scenario.

“These facilities are extremely important to us. As an indoor facility, it gives us a year-round ability to train a huge number of simulations with tons and tons of repetition. It’s also in the heart of the county, so if a page went out right now, we could get to anywhere easily from here,” said a SWAT team instructor.