SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. - What does 50,000 volts feel like when
it's shooting through your body?
My recent augmentee class
with the 20th Fighter Wing Security Forces Squadron gave me a
first-hand experience, and I can tell you- it's like no pain you
have felt before.
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class
Michael Cossaboom, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs photojournalist,
falls to the ground while being tasered at Shaw Air Force Base,
S.C., June 25, 2014. As part of security forces augmentee training,
Cossaboom along with eight other Airmen experienced a Taser up to
50,000 volts, weapons firing and pepper spray. (U.S. Air Force photo
by Airman 1st Class Jensen Stidham)
I remember every single second of being tased. Even
though my body was unable to move, my mind was running
faster than ever and keenly aware.
An Airman held
each of my arms as I braced myself. I heard, "Taser, Taser,
Taser," then pain surged through my body as I struggled to
stay standing and flesh burned on my back where the two
prongs were clipped to my ABUs.
A tingling sensation
filled my body as my muscles contracted and 50,000 volts
flowed from vertebrae to vertebrae down my spine, resulting
in paralysis throughout my body.
I screamed out, and
was gently placed on the floor by the two Airmen while the
Taser finished its five-second count.
was definitely worth the pain. I learned just how effective
a Taser is when used on the human body, and it made me
appreciate the responsibility of carrying one.
Security forces' augmentees are trained to assist security
forces personnel in maintaining security of the base. The
three-day class provided approximately 24-hours of training
to non-security forces Airmen.
After being appointed
to participate in the class, I was eager to learn a little
about the training our security forces personnel receive. I
was also exceptionally interested in learning what it is
like to be tased.
Though the Taser was a memorable
experience, it was only a small portion of the instruction
we received. We learned about the laws security forces
Airmen have to follow, we were taught weapons safety, how to
suppress, search and handcuff suspects, and the expectations
The weapons training was critical,
because augmentees are issued arms to adequately perform
We spent a full day on weapons
training. We were issued an M4, and the trainers reviewed
the safety procedures for the weapon before we headed out to
the range where they tested our abilities.
targets stood ready as we awaited instructions from the loud
speaker. As soon as I was directed, I threw on my flak gear,
hearing protection and safety goggles. I waited. When the
voice came over the loudspeaker, I approached my M4 and
During the weapons training, we shot
both with and without a gas mask, in the standing, kneeling,
and prone positions.
It was an exhausting three days
that left me not only physically but mentally drained, but
the hands-on training and classroom instruction provided me
with the skills I need to thrive as an augmentee. I am
excited to assist my fellow Airmen and support the 20th
Fighter Wing mission.
By U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Diana M. Cossaboom
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