BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - The room is silent as an Airmen, dressed in padding – a simulated active shooter – lurks.
Suddenly, at the end of the room the door bursts open. Two Latvian soldiers burst in and begin firing at the "active shooter," taking him down and clearing the next room for safety. A few seconds later, members of the Calhoun County Sherriff's Department enter to act as back up, helping to finish the job.
This was a scene resulting from an active shooter tactics familiarization event between the Michigan Air National Guard, military personnel from the Republic of Latvia, and a local Michigan police force on March 16, 2018, facilitated by the 110th Security Forces Squadron, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, Mich.
"Today, we participated in a joint tactical knowledge exchange with local law enforcement," said Master Sgt. Joshua Rance, 110th Security Forces Squadron superintendent. "Participants familiarized themselves with cross-cultural weapons and tactics experience with international partners and had a chance to learn constantly-evolving active shooter lessons gained from recent events."
The teams were combined in a truly joint force. Latvian soldiers were paired with police officers and airmen to cultivate a two-way street of learning methods for clearing the building and the most effective way of taking down an active shooter.
“The difference for this event was getting to share tactics with our Latvian partners and hear their cross-cultural techniques,” said Rance. “We also have a new partnership with Calhoun County emergency services team members and got to discover new technology.”
Latvian soldiers agreed that the communication and knowledge that they gained from this event will assist them in the future, not just with the scenario but also in leadership and giving directions to future personnel.
This familiarization is the beginning of many due to an increasing collaboration between Michigan Air National Guard and Latvian security forces personnel under the Michigan National Guard's State Partnership Program with Latvia.