In the News

Use of Force: RAF Mildenhall Defenders ensure effective security response

By SSgt Christine Groening 100th Air Refueling Wing


Imagine standing at the front gate, checking ID cards, when you notice out of the corner of your eye an individual climbing over the fence or trying to make a dash onto base. What is an appropriate response for stop the intruder?


 The 100th Security Force Squadron Defenders and augmentees are required to make split-second decisions when approached aggressively, and determine the level of self-defense in order to make a “bad guy” compliant.


“Use of Force training is definitely important when a security forces member must defend themselves, and having the justification as to why they used that level of force,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony Bruner, 100th Security Force Squadron trainer.


 The training section provides a variety of training on both lethal and non-lethal weapons, to include anti-vehicle barrier training, Taser and batons, civil disturbances, and combatives. They ensure security forces members can determine when and what weapon to use.


 At the minimum, Airmen on duty are required to don a baton, and they have the option to carry a Taser.


“Whenever someone has a lethal weapon, they need to have a non-lethal one as well,” Bruner said. “It’s up to the security forces member on how they would respond with the level of force. Within reason, the security forces member is empowered to decide on the most appropriate level of force.


“One of the scenarios we practice is a defender responding to a disturbance at a party, and an individual at the back of the room, with a knife in hand, is given the command to stop. The individual doesn’t listen, so the member has to react, with Taser in hand. We avoid using lethal force unless absolutely necessary – we’d much rather save a life than take one.”


Use of Force training consists of non-lethal and lethal force, as well as stressing the importance of constant vigilance. It also covers why understanding procedures for certain situations and having a winning mindset is so crucial for the job.


 Another example of use of force is the military working dogs.


“The working dogs have capabilities out of this world, and they showcase it daily while providing security to RAF Mildenhall,” said Staff Sgt. Kristina Santos, 100th SFS military working dog handler. “They can sweep and secure areas quickly and efficiently, ensuring the safety of base personnel, distinguished visitors and all aircraft. The MWDs are happy to work and will never pass up the opportunity to provide detection support or find someone hiding in a building.”


The 100th SFS Airmen ensure the Bloody Hundredth is a ready force and strategic forward-base, projecting airpower through unrivaled air refueling across Europe and Africa.


“Every job in the Air Force is essential and everyone plays a role,” Bruner said. “I train security forces members to protect the property and personnel on the base, which includes the aircraft, maintainers and pilots, in order to get the aircraft in the air and the mission accomplished.”