Local

September 5, 2013

Antiterrorism Exercise assesses installation readiness, reinforces personnel strengths, community relationships

First responders with the Fort Huachuca and Whetstone Fire Departments work together to get a wounded Soldier into an ambulance during the full scale exercise, Apache Warrior 2013, Tuesday. These first responders were called to the scene of explosions at Whitside Hall.

 

First responders, law enforcement and safety and security personnel from Fort Huachuca and the local community went into action Tuesday during an annual, installation-wide exercise designed to test installation and community partner readiness in the event of a terrorist attack or other emergency. Fort Huachuca felt the impact of Apache Warrior 2013, or AW13, for four hours when two separate, simulated incidents caused the Main Gate to shut down, traffic to be rerouted and installation-wide building lockdown. Key personnel responded to the incidents and evaluators observed effectiveness of agencies involved.

Participants in this year’s exercise received no previous warnings or notifications except knowing it would take place sometime this week. At the post-exercise briefing, Col. Dan McFarland, Fort Huachuca garrison commander, said even he did not even know the details of AW13 in advance.

Two terrorism-focused scenarios started within minutes of each other. According to Pat Lotten, Emergency Plans & Operations officer, the plan to have the different scenarios at opposite ends of post served an important purpose.

“What we’ve learned through Lessons Learned and through TTP (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures), is that we know in any type of terrorist event there’s normally a preliminary explosion or incident followed by a second one. That was the concept we employed here with the main ACP (access control point) being a distraction target, but the real target was another location on Fort Huachuca,” Lotten said.

The first scenario began around 9 a.m. at the main gate. Three vehicles exited the Widowed Support Center parking lot and approached the main gate simultaneously.

Col. Dan McFarland, Fort Huachuca garrison commander, speaks at a briefing Tuesday after the conclusion of Apache Warrior 2013. Two after-action briefings took place at Murr Community Center Tuesday and Wednesday for all units and agencies involved.

The last vehicle exploded, drawing guards’ attention as the other two vehicles approached the checkpoint. One of the vehicles managed to enter the installation without being stopped. Aggressors inside the remaining vehicle exited and opened fire on the guards.

Capt. Jonathan Hernandez, Directorate of Emergency Services, Department of Guard Force, guard captain, played the role of firing back at one of those aggressors only to be shot in the neck.

“This morning has been very eventful [and] very educational. We’ve definitely seen how the system works and what we need to work on,” Hernandez said. “We’ve done scripted scenarios before, but never anything this elaborate – not while I’ve been working on the gate.”

In the second scenario, which began around 9:15 a.m., several explosions occurred in and around Whitside Hall with numerous casualties both inside and out. Incident officials also described Whitside Hall as having sustained moderate to severe damage to parts of the building.

The main target on Fort Huachuca was supposed to be Greely Hall due to the number of occupants, according to Lotten, who stated that officials learned about plans later, through documents found on the terrorists.

“There were supposed to be several targets,” he said. “With 2,000 people working at Greely Hall on a daily basis, [an explosion there] would have been catastrophic.

“The main secondary target was Raymond W. Bliss [Army Health Center]. When the terrorists found they would not be able to get to either location, they chose to hit the closest secondary target, Whitside Hall,” Lotten stated, adding that Weinstein Village was another secondary target. Another distraction was a bomb threat at Alvarado Hall, headquarters of the commanding general. The bomb threat took place and the building was evacuated until it was examined for bombs and cleared.

Soldiers with the 18th Military Police Detachment look over new information during the full scale exercise, Apache Warrior 2013, Tuesday. Two scenarios took place at the Main Gate and Whitside Hall.

In addition to the training, participants learned about emergency preparedness from the one-day training event.

“Basically this exercise shows us what we have for manpower response and recall times, and it shows how well we work together with other units on [and off] post,” said Andrew Johnson, Fort Huachuca Fire Department firefighter.

Besides Fort Huachuca personnel, 14 off-post agencies participated in the exercise. Responders included the FBI, Customs and Border Patrol, Sierra Vista Regional Health Center, AirEvac, Arizona Department of Transportation and several Cochise County police and fire departments.

Lotten said AW13 challenged installation personnel to respond in a multi-incident arena, and an exercise like this one helps improve the environment and cooperative working relationship with community partners.

Lotten thanked all participating agencies but singled out three in particular.

“Sierra Vista Regional Health Center provided emergency medical care for the casualties, just as they would in the real world,” Lotten said. “AirEvac provided medical airlift of casualties from Whitside Hall requiring transport to trauma centers.

“The FBI participation was extremely important, as one of their major roles is response to terrorist threats and events, as they would assume Incident Command.Their active involvement, advice and assistance to Fort Huachuca CID agents and military police officers was invaluable in incident command operations,” he added.

First responders prepare to treat “wounded” Soldiers involved in the full scale exercise, Apache Warrior 2013, at Whitside Hall Tuesday. To add realism to the exercise, artificial artillery, machine gun simulators and smoke generators were used during the event.

He also added that the Fort Huachuca community learned a lot about being alert and prepared.

For Jesse Markum, installation antiterrorism officer, the exercise was about demonstrating capabilities.

“[AW 13 assisted in] honing skills and detecting strengths and weaknesses so security professionals can efficiently protect the Fort Huachuca community and mission,” he said.

Updated AW 13 information was posted on Channel 97 (the Commander’s Access Channel), the U.S. Army Fort Huachuca Facebook page and the Critical Information Hotline, 538.4636.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Stephanie Caffall

Women’s history showcased during special event Wednesday

Stephanie Caffall Fort Huachuca’s Thunder Mountain Activity Centre was the site of an event titled, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives” Wednesday in celebration for National Women’s History Month. After the reading...
 
 
DoD

DOD warns troops, families to be cyber crime smart

WASHINGTON — Defense Department employees and their families should be vigilant when guarding personal and work information from expanding cyber-criminal activity, and to know how to recognize scammer tactics, according to DOD’s chief information officer. Terry Halvorsen issued a DOD-wide memorandum March 18 about the growing threat of cybercrime “phishing” and “spear phishing” in e...
 
 

Army health leaders advocate for importance of nutrition

WASHINGTON — During National Nutrition Month in March, “we encourage each of you to renew a commitment to achieving your personal Performance Triad goals,” said Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho. This year’s theme is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” she said. The Performance Triad focuses on the importance of sleep, activity and nutrition...
 

 
Natalie Lakosil

Convoy exercise helps ready 111th MI Bde. for emergencies

Natalie Lakosil Soldiers from the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade take a short rest in lower Garden Canyon before returning to the motor pool as part of a convoy training exercise Wednesday. The exercise helps the brigade s...
 
 

Fort Huachuca Criminal Punishment Bulletin – February

For the month of February, in addition to Court-Martial and U.S. Federal Court Proceedings, 31 Soldiers were disciplined under Article 15, UCMJ; and 25 Soldiers were administratively separated, including 2 for misconduct. The following are notable recent criminal proceedings: A specialist assigned to the 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion was tried at a General Court-Martial. The...
 
 
Natalie Lakosil

111th MI Bde. NCO, Soldier, Platoon Sgt. of Quarter winners selected

Natalie Lakosil Sgt. Jason Grider, Alpha Company, 309th Military Intelligence Battalion, inspects uniforms during the in-ranks inspection portion of the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade Non-commissioned Officer of the Quarte...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin