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Liberty warriors participate in riot training exercise


Release Date: 3/24/2004

By 1st Lt. Ed Ekpoudom 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

RAF LAKENHEATH, England (USAFENS)- More than 40 Airmen and U.S. Army National Guard soldiers from here participated in a riot training exercise on an airfield near RAF Alconbury Wednesday.

The Regional Public Support Unit training exercise, which included more than 200 PSU officers from seven counties throughout East Anglia and Ministry of Defence police, simulated potential real-world scenarios with the goal of improving police response to civil unrest and other similar disturbances.

There were police instructors with gasoline bombs, a mock media center and a police station with custody units during the five-hour exercise, which culminated in a large-scale riot.

"This is the largest exercise of its kind in the country," said Police Constable Mark Hills, Cambridgeshire police and the exercise committee chairman. "We tried to make it as realistic as possible."

Constabulary officers were equaled in number by mock rioters during the exercise. More than 200 volunteers, including the contingent from RAF Lakenheath and students from local public service colleges, clashed with police officers during the exercise.

A majority of the mock rioters from RAF Lakenheath were from the 48th Security Forces Squadron and many of them said they enjoyed the opportunity to see how local constabularies do business.

"It was interesting to see their tactics from the rioters' perspective," said Tech. Sgt. John Miller, noncommissioned officer in charge, 48th SFS United Kingdom Confinement Facility.

The 48th Fighter Wing frequently supports training exercises with local constabularies and Karen Childs, the wing's British liaison officer, said the wing has earned a favorable reputation with local constabularies for the way its troops have conducted themselves during past exercises.

"RAF Lakenheath has provided up to 45 troops each year for the past two years and troops enjoy the comradeship that goes with liaising with off base police like this," she said.

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