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Shaw AFB Security Forces Electrify Training
by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Diana M. Cossaboom - August 1, 2014

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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 Jensen Stidham, 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 Diana M. Cossaboom)
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.

The experience 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 of augmentees.

The weapons training was critical, because augmentees are issued arms to adequately perform their duties.

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.

The 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 began shooting.

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
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2014

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