103rd Security Forces competes in 2021 Connecticut SWAT Challenge

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Steven Tucker
  • 103rd Airlift Wing

After a year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 103rd Security Forces Squadron competed in a field of two dozen teams from civilian and military law enforcement agencies at the Connecticut SWAT Challenge, Aug. 16-19, 2021.

The SWAT Challenge attracts agencies from throughout the state and nation and provides training opportunities in a competitive environment. Teams were evaluated on several range events at the Hartford Gun Club in East Granby.

"It's heavily focused on marksmanship, shooting fundamentals, and stress under fire," said Master Sgt. Ian McMahon, 103rd Security Forces Squadron team captain. "The shooting events put you in a position where you're not comfortable just shooting downrange at a target. You're moving, your heart rate is up, you're under stress, you're on a time limit, and with all that going on, you have to pay attention to the fundamentals."

Teams also conducted a simulated active shooter response scenario at a vacant building in South Windsor.

"The challenge is team-oriented, so you need to make sure you're with your team, watching your team, and helping your team," said McMahon.

The challenge culminated in a three-mile physical training course with approximately 30 stations throughout the West Hartford Reservoir complex.

"It's back-to-back events that usually hammer your legs—lunges with weight, burpees, sprints, hill runs, and carries," said McMahon. "It's really meant to stress you physically and show you that you can keep going and press on. Everyone utilizes their strengths as a team to get the job done and it's phenomenal to see it in action."

At the conclusion of the PT challenge, teams climb over a high wall and sprint to the finish line, where they are met with the cheers of the other teams who have completed the course.

Participating in the challenge presents opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships with civilian law enforcement agencies, said McMahon.

"Seeing how well we do here compared to these teams and being able to network and work with them, it puts us on the map and it builds a really good relationship with our community," said McMahon. "We just recently worked with Connecticut State Police on active shooter response training and building clearing to get in sync with them, so if anything was to ever happen on our base, we're on the same page and can work seamlessly with them."

These training opportunities help the 103rd develop well-rounded Defenders, said McMahon.

"Getting outside the box, doing something different, and getting to utilize things that local law enforcement and other military units do, really helps us," said McMahon. "It builds our camaraderie and allows us to be more efficient and better overall at our job."