61 SFS hosts LAPD and Orange County Sheriff SWAT teams for first training scenario in over ten years at Fort MacArthur

  • Published
  • By Capt. Katelin Robinson
  • Space Base Delta 3

The 61st Security Forces Squadron hosted the LA Police Department and Orange County Sheriff SWAT teams for a joint exercise on April 17, 2024, at Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, California.

This training was the first of its kind in over ten years to take place at the installation. A perfect storm of events led to this unique and controlled training environment for the first responders, with the dorms currently under renovation and the divestiture and subsequent closing of lodging last year.

“Our building layouts allow them to train on tactics that they may utilize when entering a hotel, apartment complex, or other building with long hallways and multiple doorways present,” explained Capt. Jonathan Rettig, Operations Officer, 61 SFS and coordinator for this event.

During the training, SWAT teams utilized blanks, simulated ammunition, and flashbangs, providing a more realistic training experience. A call for base volunteers came out early in the week to act as injured bystanders, hostages, and oppositional forces (OPFOR).

“I had a blast volunteering for the event. It was great hands-on training, as well as an opportunity to get to know other people in our community. I was acting as OPFOR for the event where I got the opportunity to shoot blanks at the SWAT team before getting hit by sim rounds,” described one volunteer. 

He added, “The most memorable part for me was when I was hiding in the bathroom and shot at them then getting pelted by three different people.”

Training events like this benefit both our SFS Defenders and our local law enforcement by allowing them to learn each other’s capabilities for different situations, familiarize outside emergency response teams with the layout of the base in case a real response situation, and helps both agencies increase communication and cooperation to better support one another.

“These training opportunities are invaluable as they exercise our tactics and our response protocols when working hand-in-glove with other agencies – what we call interoperability.  We cherish our relationships with our law enforcement and military partners.  The more we conduct these training scenarios, the more we all grow together,” shared Lieutenant Lee McMillion, LAPD SWAT.

Rettig echoed the sentiment, “The training went really well and we look forward to accomplishing more integrated training sessions in the near future.”

Space Base Delta 3 is home to Space Systems Command (SSC) who is the U.S. Space Force field command responsible for acquiring and delivering resilient war fighting capabilities to protect our nation’s strategic advantage in, from and to space. We manage a $15.6 billion space acquisition budget for the Department of Defense and work in partnership with joint forces, industry, government agencies, academic, and allied organizations to accelerate innovation and outpace emerging threats. Our actions today are making the world a better space for tomorrow.