Tech. Sgt. Matt Copley of Dover AFB talks with Master Sgt. Patrick Carr Feb. 1. Copley completed the first Unit Marshal Program training course at the base and now is authorized to carry an M9 pistol while on duty. — USAF Photo/Senior Amn William Johnson

“In August 2006 an Islamic extremist group targeted Dover AFB for an attack that was never carried out,” doverpost.com reports. “In May 2014, the base was put on lockdown following reports, later shown to be unfounded, that a suspicious person with a gun had been seen near an airplane hangar.” Yesterday, Colorado’s Dover Air Force Base launched operation “Eagle Shield” to counter/prepare for terrorist attack and/or “workplace violence.” Dover AFB implemented it as follows . . .

The program is divided into two parts. The first, the Security Forces Staff Arming Program, authorizes security personnel who do not normally carry weapons to be armed on duty. 436th Airlift Wing commander Col. Michael W. Grismer Jr. backed up the program by allowing government weapons, including the M14 selective fire automatic rifle and M9 semiautomatic pistol, to be carried in personal vehicles while responding to an emergency . . .

The second part of Eagle Shield is the most far-reaching: authored by security specialists Tech. Sgt. Michael Johnson and Staff Sgts. Bryan Miller, Joshua Botto and John Broughal, the program trains selected airmen – from airplane mechanics to cooks to administrative specialists – giving them the ability to protect others at work.

Dubbed the Unit Marshal Program, staff sergeants and above are selected by their commanders to undergo a wide-ranging eight-day course in handling a 9mm pistol, use of force, reacting to an active shooter situation, communications and working with security personnel during emergencies.

Dover is the first installation to implement a unit marshals program.

Thanks to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s 2015 directive to all service branches to increase security against terrorist attack,  Dover’s unit marshall program will be the “baseline” for similar programs throughout the Air Force. The U.S. Army and Navy are also studying it for force-wide implementation.

Along with a general loosening of on-base and off-duty carry regulations, this is the right answer. As we will no doubt see.

[h/t DC]

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47 Responses to U.S. Air Force Tools-Up for Terrorists

  1. M14? Is that a typo or are they issuing selective fire M14’s.

    I’ve never used one, but those drop leg holsters just look clumsy and uncomfortable to me. Last time I carried a sidearm in the service I used a tankers style chest holster. Sidearm and holster were not issue and I was not “authorised”.

    Oh well. As I’ve heard it said many times. No inspection ready outfit is combat ready.

      • I never understood why so many idiots wear drop leg holsters down around their knees. The whole point is to move the gun JUST below the beltline, to make room around the damn beltline for gear, waist straps for backpacks, etc- not to have the gun dangling down around your thigh. It should be snugged as high and tight as possible on the thigh, just below the beltline. You shouldn’t have to bend sideways to reach the grip.

        • Some find it more comfortable and/or accessible in vehicles worn low, others are leaving room for upper body gear. U have to figure a shorter guy’s vest or PC carrier or backpack hangs lower around the waistline. Also, in cold weather people tend to wear jackets that ride lower, wearing the pistol low keeps it untangled and more accesible with the longer jackets.

        • I bet those holsters are handed off to one another and no one wants to bother adjusting them.

    • According to a marine friend of mine the navy still has quite a few m14s and regularly uses them on ships. It wouldn’t surprise me if they found a crate of em somewhere on base and just decided to hand them out.

      • this is a us gvt branch we are talking bout. They probably found several CONTAINERs full of them, and were like “oh, i guess we should use these somewhere, cause nobody wants to do the turn in paperwork.”

        I have heard the stories of ancient sheds, with locks long off the records, marked as cleared buy someone who retired so long ago they are dead now, have “stuff” in them when someone actually breaks out bolt cutters and checks the storage shed.

      • The M14 has had a strange history. Although not the primary weapon for the Army and Marines, the Navy retained the M14 for shipboard use for a couple of reasons. First, the standard M14 is equipped with a line throwing reel using blanks….similar to the old rifle grenade launcher to shoot lines between ships during underway replenishment. These are still used today as far as I know. Many ships also use it as a secondary weapon at .50 cal mounts for the gun crews, to engage targets at the 100-500 yd range during reloads or barrel changes. It would also be used for dedicated marksmen positions pierside. It was also brought back into service during Afghanistan and Iraq as a DMR by Army, Marines and SEALs.

        I think the author meant to say M16s…the M14 is a bit manly for the Air Force. This author also seem to think Dover AFB is in Colorado…last time I checked, Dover AFB was in Delaware…but with all the BRACs who knows…

        • On my boat we used the M14 for Shark watch for swim call. Kept one for topside watch when we were tied to the pier, though we had the 1911 at our side and the M14 was stuffed in the dog house.

      • In almost all circumstances they have been converted to semiauto only via selector lock. Most of these guns have been tweaked at Crane for use by special warfare. The M14 in full auto climbs so much that only the first two rounds generally hit the target.

      • I’m a 20 year Navy vet and carried an M14 many times on top side watches. We were strongly cautioned about using the rifle inside the skin of the ship because the 7.62 NATO round would penetrate many of the aluminum internal bulkheads if .we missed. We were told to switch to our .45/9mm or acquire a shotgun if we had to fight inside the ship.

    • About the “M14”, it has to be a typo. The Air Force never adopted the M14 on a large scale. EOD are the only ones that I know of using them. As for the drop holsters, they’re never comfortable to wear. When you adjust them properly they will remove all the hair from your thigh. It took about six months for my hair to grow back after getting out. If you don’t have the adjusted properly, they swing around wildly when you run, or move quickly. Chest rigs were generally allowed if you were doing convey security.

    • For vehicle OPS, quickly donning body armor and chest rig,life vest or rappelling gear, and quick re-holstering while any of the aforementioned, a quality, properly adjusted drop leg holster is awesome. Unfortunately the USAF issues/issued POS Blackhawk cordura holsters with no shape retention, and many wearing them are Fobbits.

  2. Dang always thought Dover AFB was in Delaware. Guess I was actually in Colorado when stationed there….guess I need my eyes checked as I don’t recall seeing any mountains. Great program nonetheless

  3. Pretty funny/pathetic the zoomies are tooling and the Army brass keep things neutered. Barak will fix their little red wagon when he learns they went off the reservation.

    • The USAF has a track record of trusting its personnel long before the Army. I remember one day in 1990 coming off of shift. I went to the clearing barrel with my M-9. The rule was that the person in line before you would wait, and visually confirm that the chamber was empty. This time, in was an Army MP who was TDY on our base. I pulled the slide back on the M-9, and as I expected, a 9mm cartridge ejected. The Army MP had a coronary, called for his captain, and acted like I committed some grave sin. I was astounded to learn that MPs typically carried unloaded guns. We had to explain to Barney Fife that USAF regulations mandated that USAF cops carry loaded firearms while on duty, that it was our base, that their captain meant nothing to us, and if they kept up the BS, we would apprehend them for interference. I hope to God that things changed since then, that the Army now trust their MPs to carry loaded firearms.

      • Doubt it. All the time I spent in the army and never saw a soldier with a loaded gun while in the U.S. Unless at the range. And overseas, none of the fobbits ever were permitted the privledge of having a loaded gun. I doubt most of them were even issued more than the required one mag.

        • While stationed at Hessen-Homburg Kaserne in Hanau, Germany I was tasked with payroll security on several occasions (they were still paying in cash at that time for soldiers who wanted that option). In that capacity and on one occasion when I was required to escort a prisoner to Rhine-Maine airfield for transport to CONUS after Germany ordered him deported I was issued live ammunition and remained locked and loaded. And no, I was not an MP, I was the A Company Clerk in the 45th Medical Battalion.

        • One other thing I just remembered (it was a long time ago) – when we were on field maneuvers the officers would carry their issue .45s with a loaded mag. The reason given for this was that there were terrorists around Germany at the time (not Muslims) and there was some concern about all of us enlisted running around with our M-16s and no way to protect them. As I was the Company Commander’s driver there were several occasions where he was required to leave the vehicle in civilian areas. When this happened he would take off his .45, fully loaded, and leave it with me and my unloaded M16 in the Jeep. And no NICS check required (/joke).

        • Here’s another story…When I was a young 19D (Cav) trooper in the NG, one of our duties was road guide for the battalion. We were either left alone at intersections with our M16A1’s or with a M151A1 (jeep), a M16 and a M60 (7.62 LMG), with no ammo. This was not on base, but on public roads and highway exits, as civilians drove by spitting at us and/or giving us the finger. (This was right after ‘Nam, and were hated by most younger people, that now have children in the military…funny how that goes, but that’s another story). I never had a problem with somebody stopping and trying to steal my weapons, but there were other guys that had people stopping and “asking” “are those guns loaded?” If a bunch of guys wanted to take them, there won’t have been much we could have done to stop them.

      • When I was in Bosnia back in 95 or 96, one night we landed under heavy sniper fire…sorry that was Hillary’s story….

        Anyway…I had to make an unplanned run between bases in Sarajevo. When we got back, we came in the back entrance which didn’t have a clearing barrel. I still had battle rattle on when I got into our space and one of my guys asked me if I downloaded…and…crap…no….so I dropped the mag from the M16, pointed it out the window, ejected the round, and handed it and the the rifle to him. Then I pulled my M9, dropped the mag, pointed it out the window, and cleared the chamber. The round sailed out and one the other guys standing nearby caught it. Just then this USAF Intel Major TDY to us walks in, has this shocked look on her face and asks “Is that weapon loaded???” Not missing a beat, my guy shows her the 9mm round and says…”No ma’am, not anymore…”

      • When I deployed in ’07 I had an Army private come up to me in the chow hall and tell me “My Major told me to tell you you still have your magazine in your M9.” To which I replied “Yeah, there’s also a round in the chamber and the safety’s off. Have a nice day.” About five minutes later the chow hall NCO came to our table and asked us why our guns were still loaded. Our asst. flight chief had to explain that we could clear our weapons because there’s no clearing barrel at the entrance, and even if there was, we were required to carry them loaded at all times.

  4. Having driven past it more than once, I can say that Dover AFB is in Delaware. It’s the base where among other things, sadly, the bodies of those KIA in the Middle East are brought. Please let’s respect the location and the duty.

  5. Having never driven by Dover AFB, but having driven extensively around Colorado, I’m sure the first does not reside within the second.

  6. The first part sounds dumb, it just says cops can carry guns… The 2nd part needs more info, sounds like one person in a unit gets to carry an M9 as an extra duty but is it mandatory or commander’s choice? It doesn’t mean much with this limited info.

  7. My NG unit has a don’t ask don’t tell (show) policy towards cc. I wish like hell we were allowed to open carry. It would do the citizens of our nation good to see their citizen soldiers armed while going about our day to day life.

    • We have this too, except in my company the policy is “if the CO asks if you’re armed, take it out of your IWB and hand it to him so he can comment on your choice of handgun and discuss the relative merits versus his Px4 in .40.”

      I’m the CO.

      • Heh…. in-ranks inspections must take forever.
        I wish my last CO was that accommodating; he was of the opinion that junior enlisted (including E-5 NCOs) had no business carrying (or even owning) firearms, and made it effectively impossible to retrieve a POF from the arms-room, contrary to Army & provost marshal regs. A lot of guys kept their POFs at off-post friends’ houses, and went to great lengths to keep our CO from finding out that they even had POFs.
        When I first reported to the unit as a married E-5, I was unaware of his animus towards the 2A and tried to do the right thing by following Army & post regs for keeping POFs in housing. But as soon as command found out I had one, I was ordered to turn it in to the arms-room, given a hand receipt, and didn’t see it again for almost two years. It took resorting to the IG before we were finally allowed to keep our POFs at home.

  8. They(M14’s) were used for the marksmanship contests, at least in the ANG units. If you qualified to make the unit’s team, you were issued the rifle, a shooting jacket, gloves an a whole bunch of other goodies to take home. Make no mistake however, when you left the unit you shall (look shall up in a legal dictionary) return the rifle to the unit armoury or face UCMJ prosecution, as for the goodies, you could keep them due to “wear-n-tear”.

  9. Delaware has open carry already spoken presumably they could carry off base. As God intended.
    Fort hood take notice please.

  10. I have to think it’s a typo…If they’re issuing M14s at Dover AFB, they must have a credible threat that would justify handing out rifles which will easily penetrate the aircraft, engines, and possibly the hanger. Plus those rounds will readily sale onto the highway, or into downtown Dover…. If ISIS can mount an amphibious assault from the Atlantic side, we have bigger issues.

  11. I’m sure it’s a typo and they meant M-4s. BTW, at my Air Guard base in the very early 90s we had 10 BARs in 30-06 and we weren’t giving them back. It finally took direct action from the Guard Bureau to make us give them up, They had been on our books since 1947. I carried a revolver or a rifle for many years in the Air Force as a nuclear weapons troop and they were always loaded.

  12. Please do some fact checking on what you guys post. As already mentioned by other’s this AFB is in DOVER, DELAWARE not in Colorado.

  13. I don’t think I’ve ever seen USAF mock Army as being less trained before… Every airman I ever met in my 2 15 month deployments (Anbar Province ’06 and Sadr City ’08) either didn’t carry a weapon or carried condition amber like my untrained infantry unit.
    I witnessed personally 2 ND’s at the chow hall by airmen. 1 by an NCO and 1 by officer. The NCO ‘cleared’ his M16 with a mag in and flipped it to burst then discharged into the barrel and proceeded to flag every soldier in the line with a hot weapon until he was tackled. The officer shot ND’d his M9 by doing the same thing.

    Also, I don’t remember clearing houses and doing air assaults with airmen, just my untrained army dog brothers. How many shots did you USAF guys fire? guess it’s easier to do 3 month deployments to Kuwait though, real heroes.

    Sincerely, CPL Stephens. 1/8 Inf. 3/4 ID

    • Cpl. Stephens. The Air Force and the Navy spend buckets of cash to train their personnel in all sorts of high tech endeavors. It makes little sense to take these valuable(expensive) people and have them house clearing when that’s what grunts are for. Air Force and Navy people are highly trained. Just not as bullet magnets.

      You would have a valid gripe if you cleared houses all day and then the powers that be slapped a tool box in your hands and told you to maintain an f16.

      If your army brothers are untrained, that’s an issue that starts at the top of your org. And as a former nco I know that it’s also part of your job to train up your army brothers.

      Do your job and let your brother services do theirs.

  14. Jwm : should have put quotes around the untrained parts. The point is we aren’t untrained and being called such by usaf and usn is a bit frustrating.

    Take your own statement and you’ll see that my statement makes more sense. You’re trained to maintain equipment and I’m trained to kick in doors and perform field medicine (combat medic assigned to infantry unit). So do your job and don’t talk smack about my level of training with small arms like the previous commenters did. No you aren’t more trained in small arms and tactics than I am and saying you are is ridiculous just like me saying I’m better trained at f16 maintenance than usaf or usn.

    Btw my first MOS that I performed as a secondary job during my deployments was signal support. That is maintenance of satellite and radio communications devices. 24 weeks of highly technical training and I was still put where I was needed and kicked in doors with the grunts. So not as big of a toolbox but a toolbox no less. Is it really so much to say that navy and zoomies aren’t better trained than people who actually fight the wars? Us poor bullet magnets!

  15. Also, sorry to resort to this jwm but it’s pretty damn offensive to use the term bullet magnet in regards to someone who you know deployed to Iraq and in particular Sadr City during 2008 which IF you had ever seen combat in Iraq you would know that it was the biggest battle of the war.

    Needless to say and without using my experiences as a wedge in what is only an internet debate I will simply say that I saw my share of bullets and sent my share as well. I have killed for my country and lost more than you’ll ever know and calling me and my brothers bullet magnets is low.

    I hope that you feel more like a man for setting me straight because I had the nerve to suggest that people who carry weapons in war zones for a living were better trained than people who maintain airplanes. I’m pretty disgusted that vets like you exist and I’m out.

    • Bullet magnet to a GRUNT is a F’n compliment! We know what we are. To suggest otherwise is an attempt to diminish us. GFYS.

      • Sure b. Whatever floats your boat. I know plenty of grunts that would disagree.

        I put my resume out there and you didn’t so why are you so offended with what I said but somehow not offended by being called less trained than an airman mp. I can only assume you’re a fellow combat vet so you’re entitled to whatever opinion you have about your service. Keep it civil with your brothers next time re the “GFYS” comment.

        Also I’ll admit I overreacted up in my last comment to jwm but I get a bit defensive of people I think have disrespected or diminished our brothers and our sacrifice.

        • I’ve been a bullet magnet. I was reacting to your over reaction to a very mundane report of AF people taking steps to defend themselves. And your dick waving snark about heros. ALL of our service members are heros in my book.

          Knew a guy in the coast guard. Never saw combat or went overseas. But he risked his life nearly daily in rough water and foul weather off Alaska rescuing fishermen and other boaters.

          Heros abound in the service, regardless of branch.

  16. Having seen e-mail traffic on this through AF channels it’s not all its cracked up to be.
    What I saw stated that unit “marshalls” were not to run toward the sound of gunfire, but rather take cover like everyone else and only use force if confronted.

    Were I selected by my commander for this duty I sure as shit wouldn’t sit by while people nearby face a gunman…

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