Fort Sill state-of-the-art shoot house open for training

FORT SILL, Okla. - Fort Sill unveiled a state-of-the-art training facility Monday.  It's called an Urban Assault Course Shoot House. At the dedication ceremony, the Fort Sill Special Reaction Team demonstrated how trainees will use it.

This type of exercise may look familiar, entering and clearing a room, but what makes this facility different, is that Fort Sill soldiers will be able to use live ammo for the first time during the exercise.

A four-man team kicks down the door of this shoot house. They assume there is an enemy in one of the rooms. They must enter with force and secure the building. But to do that, they must check every nook and cranny.

"We always go with the thought that anywhere an eight year child can hide is a threat that we're looking for," said Staff Sergeant Roderick Smith, from the Fort Sill Special Reaction Team.

That threat could be in the closet or behind the couch. It's this type of maneuver, plus the facility, that the Range Operations Supervisor Helge Baima says makes the exercise unique.

"You really are going to encounter a realistic scenario when you have live ammunition," said Baima.

The number one priority is safety.

"If you see the red up here, the red is designed to, where you are not supposed to shoot at. You don't aim at anything above that red. I know they said like the walls are made specially where the round goes in it, it will stop," said Smith.

Bullets will stop in the eight-inch thick wall made of steel. But, for the first two levels of training, they use fake ammo.

The instructors walk up and down the catwalk during the dry and blank round exercises. They watch the trainees' techniques and tactics to determine if the unit is ready to advance to the live ammo drill.

So ultimately, troops go through several practice sessions. Plus, what the Army considers the highest level of training because you must be able to adapt to every situation.

"You don't know if you've got hostiles or noncombatants depending on your rules of engagement. The type of force you're going to use when you enter the facility," said Baima.

Even though this threat was just for pretend, trainees could still encounter dangers in real life.

For Staff Sergeant Smith he says he has, "Working the road, just regular on-patrol. I've been on a couple of calls, not here on Fort Sill, but when I was stationed elsewhere. It's come in handy quite of few times, and it always comes in handy just in every day life."

Once they're done with the training exercise, they go into a facility to have the standard after action review. There, they're able to watch the recorded video feed to figure out what didn't go so well and what did.

There are live fire shoot houses at almost every military installation in the U.S., especially since they need the training enhancement with all the different operations happening overseas.