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Kentucky Air Guard Security Forces sharpen skills during field training

A member of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron practices clearing a building in Alpena, Mich., Aug 19, 2020. The Airmen spent a week at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center to prepare them for domestic operations and law enforcement assistance. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

A member of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron practices clearing a building in Alpena, Mich., Aug 19, 2020. The Airmen spent a week at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center to prepare them for domestic operations and law enforcement assistance. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

An Airman from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron performs a simulated traffic stop during domestic operations training in Alpena, Mich., Aug 21, 2020. The Airmen spent a week at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center to prepare them law enforcement assistance. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

An Airman from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron performs a simulated traffic stop during domestic operations training in Alpena, Mich., Aug 21, 2020. The Airmen spent a week at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center to prepare them law enforcement assistance. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron engage in a firefight with opposing forces during training in Alpena, Mich., Aug 20, 2020. The Airmen spent a week at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center to prepare them for domestic operations and law enforcement assistance. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron engage in a firefight with opposing forces during training in Alpena, Mich., Aug 20, 2020. The Airmen spent a week at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center to prepare them for domestic operations and law enforcement assistance. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron practice riot-response skills in Alpena, Mich., Aug 19, 2020. The Airmen spent a week at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center to prepare them for domestic operations and law enforcement assistance. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron practice riot-response skills in Alpena, Mich., Aug 19, 2020. The Airmen spent a week at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center to prepare them for domestic operations and law enforcement assistance. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron respond during a simulated suicide scenario as part of domestic operations training in Alpena, Mich., Aug 21, 2020. The Airmen spent a week at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center to prepare them for law enforcement assistance. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron respond during a simulated suicide scenario as part of domestic operations training in Alpena, Mich., Aug 21, 2020. The Airmen spent a week at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center to prepare them for law enforcement assistance. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron restrain an Airman during a simulated riot in Alpena, Mich., Aug 19, 2020. The Airmen spent a week at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center to prepare them for domestic operations and law enforcement assistance. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron restrain an Airman during a simulated riot in Alpena, Mich., Aug 19, 2020. The Airmen spent a week at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center to prepare them for domestic operations and law enforcement assistance. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron train for domestic operations in Alpena, Mich., Aug 19, 2020. The Airmen spent a week at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center to prepare them for law enforcement assistance. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron train for domestic operations in Alpena, Mich., Aug 19, 2020. The Airmen spent a week at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center to prepare them for law enforcement assistance. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

ALPENA, Mich. -- Forty Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron traveled here Aug. 18 to sharpen their skills during five days of field exercises at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center.

After arriving aboard a Kentucky Air Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft, the Airmen began classroom instruction on a broad spectrum of law enforcement subjects and combat skills to prepare them for domestic operations, said Lt. Col. Joshua Elwell, 123rd SFS commander.

But the Airmen spent most of their time here executing hands-on training for military operations in a simulated urban setting. They learned how to control civil disturbances by forming lines across streets to safely contain and disperse crowds of people and violent rioters, for example.

The Guardsmen also trained on law-enforcement scenarios such as simulated traffic stops and DUI incidents, domestic disputes, loud-noise complaints, fatalities and suicides.

“It has been great to get off base and use these great facilities at the Alpena CRTC to add realism to our training that you can’t get back at home,” Elwell said.

Some of the scenarios included the use of firearms, which allowed Airmen to train with duty weapons using non-lethal ammunition — paintball bullets also known as simunitions — that will better preparing them for real-world situations, Elwell added.

The Airmen also gained experience with hand-to-hand skills, or combatives, which taught them how to deal with physical altercations when weapons systems have failed.

“Not a lot of people practice rolling around on the mats, unless it’s your personal hobby,” Elwell said. “We have some new folks out here, and they need that experience as well, realizing what it’s like when things go that wrong, and what you’re left with. It’s just you and not any gear.”

“We were able to exercise some skillsets we haven’t been able to exercise fully in the past, and we were able to more effectively simulate real-world scenarios through the use of simunitions that Alpena allows us to use,” said Master Sgt. Blake Nicholson, unit training manager for the 123rd SFS.

“It’s a very unique training environment. The great benefit of leaving the base and coming to an off-site training location, aside from the better training facilities and the remote location, is that just getting off the installation allows us the freedom to focus solely on training. We don’t have to worry about manning the gate or the flight line.”