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Defenders Sharpen Warfighter Skills at 97 AMW

U.S. Air Force Maj. Nathaniel Lesher, 97th Security Forces Squadron commander, explains the purpose of the new Warrior Training Center

U.S. Air Force Maj. Nathaniel Lesher, 97th Security Forces Squadron commander, explains the purpose of the new Warrior Training Center during the grand opening, Nov. 29, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Members of the 97th Air Mobility Wing gathered to witness the opening of the new Warrior Training Center which included a timed competition that tested the capabilities of the facility and the Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

Members of the 97th Security Forces Squadron staff support team memorized items they had to recall after a timed competition at the new Warrior Training Center

Members of the 97th Security Forces Squadron staff support team memorized items they had to recall after a timed competition at the new Warrior Training Center, Nov. 29, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Fourteen teams across the base participated in this competition during the WTC grand opening. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

Members of 97th Security Forces Squadron staff support team use exercise bikes

Members of 97th Security Forces Squadron staff support team use exercise bikes during a timed competition at the new Warrior Training Center, Nov. 29, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. The bikes are used to elevate the member’s heart rates to a certain level before going through the decision-based scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

Members of the 97th Security Forces Squadron staff support team utilize rowing machines

Members of the 97th Security Forces Squadron staff support team utilize rowing machines as part of the timed competition during the Warrior Training Center opening, Nov. 29, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Each task was designed to prepare members for real world scenarios where they will be tasked with fast decision-making. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

Members of the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron swing ropes

Members of the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron swing ropes during the Warrior Training Center opening competition, Nov. 29, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. During the grand opening, groups of three members participated in training that the 97th Security Forces Squadron will go through in their new facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

Members of the 97th Force Support Squadron team push weighted sleds

Members of the 97th Force Support Squadron team push weighted sleds during a timed competition held at the opening of the new Warrior Training Center, Nov. 29, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Each event during the grand opening was a high intensity workout, which required members to reach either a certain time, heart-rate or other physical requirement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

Members of the 97th Security Forces Squadron staff support team try to keep their weapon secure during a close combat situation

Members of the 97th Security Forces Squadron staff support team try to keep their weapon secure during a close combat situation, Nov. 29, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. During the grand opening of the Warrior Training Center, Air Force members conducted various training demonstrations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

Participants of the Warrior Training Center grand opening watch a timed competition

Participants of the Warrior Training Center grand opening watch a timed competition Nov. 29, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. The monitor allows a live feed of members using the facility to allow for better training feedback. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

Members of the 97th Force Support Squadron team undergo a “shoot or don’t shoot” scenario

Members of the 97th Force Support Squadron team undergo a “shoot or don’t shoot” scenario during a timed competition at the new Warrior Training Center, Nov. 29, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. The scenario area is designed to test members while being exhausted from physical exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The 97th Security Forces Squadron unveiled the new Warrior Training Center, Nov. 29, 2018, at Altus AFB. The 97th SFS repurposed a storage warehouse in order to build a high-intensity training facility for the first responders and law enforcement officials of the base.

The new training facility focuses on heart-rate, decision-making, positive psychology and scenario-based training which allows several training scenarios to be performed.

“Anything from first aid training, domestic response and ‘shoot or don't shoot’ scenarios,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Nathaniel Lesher, 97th SFS commander. “We have combative mats and aerobics equipment. We see that when heart-rate goes up that decision-making and fine motor skills tend to diminish.”

The WTC was designed with the fullest training opportunities in mind. It is intended to help train the SFS members respond to a crisis situation in a more realistic way. They go through a series of physical challenges, such as riding an exercise bicycle, pushing a weighted sled and engaging in a combative area to help elevate the heart rate. Finally, participants enter a scenario area to a random response situation, demanding specific actions. This helps 97th SFS members experience a more accurate representation of what they might face on duty. All of the training was thoughtfully designed.

“A unique part of our facility is the cameras in it,” said Lesher. “We can have students sit on the outside and view what's going on during the training. Not only are the students inside learning, but the students outside are learning as well.”

The scenario area and layout of the WTC was built by members of the 97th Air Mobility Wing and has benefits beyond law enforcement training.

“Like the A-10 {Warthog} was built around a mini-gun, we built around our scenarios,” said Lesher. “We built a location that has a hallway, a corner-fed room and a center-fed room. The basics of close-quarters combat is being able to master those areas and then we learned that we could use that area for different types of scenarios.”

The primary use of the facility will be for law enforcement and first responders, however the 97th SFS is planning to make it available to the base and community.

“We are already looking at opportunities to push warfighter skills throughout the air mobility wing and other training opportunities to bring other people into our facility to use our equipment,” said Lesher. “We have a really good relationship with the Altus Police Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Jackson County Sheriff's Department. Hopefully we'll be able to invite them out and use the facility.”

In order to make the WTC possible, it took about four months of work and four thousand dollars to creatively repurpose the storage warehouse into the low-cost training facility, but the 97th SFS is not done yet.

“We are still building two sections of the facility – one will be a vehicle takedown area that goes over traffic stops and vehicle close-quarters combat, and there will be a physical training grinder,” said Lesher.

All of the hard work that has gone into this facility is for the safety of base residents and to increase the capabilities of its defenders.

“Our first responders are primarily responsible for their security for everybody that comes on and off Altus AFB,” said Lesher. “Our defenders are making great decisions, we just want to make sure that they are capable of making the best decisions.”