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U.S. Air Force Tactical Response Force (TRF)

A United States Air Force (USAF) Tactical Response Force (TRF) is a special weapons and tactics team (SWAT) tasked with protecting USAF nuclear missile bases.

Tactical Response Force - Role

Tactical Response Force teams augment existing security forces that guard / deny access to missile silo complexes that operate ICBMs. TRFs provide a reaction force for convoys carrying nuclear munitions. TRFs regularly perform air patrols over the sprawling ICBM felds aboard helicopters.

Like USMC Recapture Tactics Teams (RTTs), USAF Tactical Response Force teams train extensively in CQB operations and in small unit tactics. Recapturing facilities and recovery of equipment, including nuclear weapons, from hostiles is a major part of the TRF's training.

Tactical Response Force - Organization

Tactical Response Force members are drawn from the Security Forces Squadrons within a given base/missile complex's Security Forces Group.

  • 90th Security Forces Group, 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming
  • 91st Security Forces Group, 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB, North Dakota
  • 341st Security Forces Group, 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Montana

A typical TRF comprises 17 men:

  • Command & Control Airman
  • 8-man assault team
  • 4-man heavy weapons team
  • 4-man Advanced Designated Marksmen team
    • 2 x Shooters
    • 2 x Spotters

Assault teams are armed with M4 carbines, M16 rifles, M9 Beretta 9mm pistols and 12-guage shotguns. Marksmen are typically armed with the M24 SWS 7.62mmx51mm sniper rifle or M107 special application scoped rifle. TRF heavy weapons teams employ M240B and M249 machine guns and the MK19 automatic 40mm grenade launcher.

Tactical Response Force - Selection & Training

Tactical Response Teams are manned by Security Forces Squadron veterans serving 3 year controlled tours. Candidates for the TRF must pass initial try-outs which feature push-ups, sit-ups and tactical maneuvers.

Successful TRF candidates are subsequently trained to very high levels in CQB and small unit tactics. They attend training courses around the country such as Tactical Explosive Entry Schools where they learn explosive entry techniques. TRF sharpshooters attend the Advanced Designated Marksmen school. TRF operators attend tactical courses such as the Special Reaction Team Training Phase I at Fort Leonard Wood, Close Precision Engagement Courses, Defensive Tactics Courses and Ground Fighting Courses.

Regular exercises are held in which a facility's Tactical Response Force, along with other USAF elements and outside agencies such as the FBI, respond to simulated threats against personnel, facilties and strategic weapons.

Tactical Response Force Photos

Members of the 91st Security Forces Group tactical response team, Minot AFB, training in CQB / room clearing procedures. ALL TRF personnel train as assaulters. Some may go on to receive specialist training as breachers or marksmen.
U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Ashley N. Avecilla

Tactical Response Forces
Members of the 341st Security Forces Group, 341st Missile Wing are delivered by a UH-1N Huey helicopter operated by the 40th Helicopter Squadron. The TRF is on alert to respond to threats anywhere in the 341st Missile Wing's 13,800-square mile missile complex. TRF operators fly regular airborne patrols over their areas of responsibility.
U.S. Air Force photo/ John Turner

TRF Breacher
A TRF operator with the 341st Security Forces Group, 341st Missile Wing uses a monoshock battering ram to force open a door during breaching training. TRF assaultersl who train as breachers attend courses which teach a range of breaching methods, including the use of tools such as battering rams, thermal torches and circular saws. Other methods of entry taught include the use of explosives.
U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Joshua Smoot

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