Conventional wisdom is that unconventional training can help keep you sharp, prepared for the unexpected, and ready for anything.
That of course includes even a giant teddy bear bum-rushing the base gate.
A video posted by the Facebook page Air Force amn/nco/snco on Monday shows an individual in a teddy bear costume strutting, dancing, and making a dash on base, before ultimately being tackled by security forces personnel at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas.
In the clip, we see the bear swagger toward the guard post, do a little jig, and then hightail it on base as stuffing falls from the costume. Seconds later, we hear “gate runner, gate runner,” over the radio, as a base guard takes off and tackles the plushy trespasser to the ground.
It turns out that the video, which has since been shared more than 2,700 times, captured a training exercise for base security forces personnel, though base public affairs could not confirm the exact date of said teddy bear-themed training.
The service did make it clear, however, that the video was not only “hilarious,” but that the exercise served a purpose.
“Like most of you, I had a good laugh at the video posted here yesterday of the big yellow bear at Sheppard’s main gate,” George Woodward, 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs Office, said in a statement to Task & Purpose. “It’s also, believe it or not, deadly serious. Think about what we ask of our military and civilian security forces airmen. They spend long hours in the heat of the day and the dark of the night defending our bases. We expect them to be aware and ready every moment to respond to any imaginable situation, and possibly make a split-second, life-and-death decision on the use of force.”
While the likelihood of an attacker donning a giant beige teddy bear costume and strutting around the main gate is slim, Woodward said the service expects its security forces personnel “to make flawless, nearly instantaneous decisions in difficult, unlikely, and even bizarre circumstances. We teach them how to do that through training and, sometimes, admittedly unusual flight-level exercises.”
“So absolutely, laugh — it’s funny!” continued Woodward. “But the next time you pass that security forces airman at the gate, think about the heavy responsibility that comes with that job and those weapons. There’s nothing funny about that.”