U.S. Air Force Tactical Response Force (TRF)
Tactical Response Force (TRF) is a special weapons and tactics team tasked with protecting USAF nuclear weapons bases.
Tactical Response Force teams augment existing security forces that guard / deny access to air bases that operate nuclear-armed bombers and 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 ICMB fields aboard helicopters.
Tactical Response Force teams train extensively in Close Quarters Battle (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.
Originally formed in 2002 to combat the changing threat to strategic nuclear weapons, all ICBM bases now have alert TRFs that are on duty 24/7 to respond to any threats to the nuclear arsonal.
Tactical Response Force members are drawn from the regular Security Forces Squadron personnel at each installation.
A typical TRF comprises 17 men:
Command & Control Team Supervisor
8-man assault team
4-man heavy weapons team
4-man Close Precision Engagement Teams
2 x Shooters
2 x Spotters
Assault teams are armed with M4 carbines, m9 Beretta 9mm pistols and 12-gauge shotguns, M240B and M249 machine guns. The sniper teams are typically armed with the M24 SWS 7.62mmx51mm sniper rifle.
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.
TRF candidates are 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, facilities and strategic weapons.