SFS sets sights on advanced training

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rebecca Imwalle
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Reaffirming the adage that it is better to sweat on the range than to bleed on the street, snipers from the Rapid City/Pennington County special response team provided snipers from the base and select agencies the opportunity to fine tune their craft to better prepare them for current and future conflicts.

Defenders from the 28th Security Forces Squadron were among a handful of individuals selected to participate in the intense training focused on extreme marksmanship, mental and physical fitness as well as tactical engagement and agility conducted on a closed course on the outskirts of Rapid City, S.D.

Jeff Hoffman, Pennington County deputy and team lead of the SRT sniper element, invited three 28th SFS Airmen to train with them prior to a South Dakota Advanced Sniper Course.

"I learned of Ellsworth snipers and invited them to train with us," Hoffman said. "I thought both teams could benefit by working together. They have done so several times and I expect they will continue in the future."

To prepare for the advanced sniper course, Duane Baker, Rapid City Police Department detective, organized a three-part training day consisting of familiarization with night vision, a series of qualification drills, and an obstacle course to test physical readiness and endurance.

Staff Sgt. Edgar Cerrillo, 28th SFS unit orientation training instructor was one of the three Airmen selected to participate in the course.

"I'm very excited for the advanced sniper training coming up," Cerrillo said. "Never did I think I would come from L.A. and be turned into a 28th SFS marksman. Learning more about how to further myself is great; you never know what this training might help you with in a deployed location."

In addition to the wealth of experience the RC/PC SRT members bring, they provide access to long range facilities for more training possibilities. Through this partnership, Ellsworth defenders are able to improve their interoperability with the RC/PC SRT, proving invaluable should they ever need assistance with an installation emergency.

"This training will help us form a rapid active shooter response team on base," Cerrillo said. "To ensure the safety of base personnel, our RASR team will be available to quickly respond to base emergencies, rather than wait for the RC/PC SRT to arrive from downtown."

Hoffman was impressed with the three SFS Airmen, stating that they performed extremely well on challenging targets without magnification that is normally used. Cerrillo credited this to past training courses that have made him a better marksman.

"Training is a very important aspect of our job," Cerrillo said. "The fundamentals I have learned from training courses have really stayed with me and made me a better shooter."

Cerrillo added that this training prepared him for what to expect in the coming weeks, emphasizing the unexpected physical aspect will only be more intense at the advanced course.

Overall, the sniper training focused on strengthening the partnership between RC/PC law enforcement professionals and Ellsworth defenders, ultimately ensuring the safety of not only base personnel, but friends and families throughout the local communities.