Wolf Pack: Respond, fight, conquer as one
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- As a very vocal, armed and upset Airman ran across the street into building 755 and began shooting blank rounds, Airmen assigned to the 8th Mission Support Group and 8th Medical Group at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, were put to the ultimate test as they responded to an active shooter exercise, Apr. 8, 2014.
The exercise kicked off at 8 a.m. with only members of the wing inspection team and role players informed of the scenario - everyone else on base was in for a surprise.
The main responders to the active shooter scenario included the 8th Security Forces Squadron, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department and the 8th MDG. As soon as shots were fired, patrols started rolling up to the scene ready to neutralize the threat.
"While everything performed during an active shooter exercise is critical, neutralizing the threat must be accomplished before anything else can be done," said Chief Master Sgt. Samel Brown, 8th SFS security force manager.
Two security forces response members ran into the building armed and ready. The Airmen swiftly ran through the building clearing rooms and finally found and 'neutralized' the shooter.
Senior Airman Sarah Kilgore, 8th SFS military working dog handler, was part of the second team to respond to the incident and feels they executed their part of the exercise well.
"We were just told there were shots fired and our job was to take the shooter out," said Kilgore. "It went really smoothly - by the time I had come in they had already taken down the active shooter. From there, the three of us went to the second and third floors to clear the areas."
Like the chief, Kilgore knows these exercises are very important for training and was happy to get the opportunity to participate.
"You never know when something like this can happen," said the MWD handler. "We always have to be ready for something like this. These are the people we work with every day and we have to make sure they are safe."
Once the building was cleared and the threat neutralized, other emergency response personnel, including the fire department and medical group rushed to the scene to tend to the injured.
"It's extremely important for the Wolf Pack to be ready to respond to any type of incident," the chief continued. "More importantly, Airmen must be ready to work as a synchronized team, which includes medical, fire and security forces. Together they act as a triage so the base can be recovered in a timely manner."
Fire department and medical personnel moved fast to find and save as many of the injured as possible. They had their work cut out for them, with more than 20 people spread throughout the building.
"This is what we train for - constantly," said Brown. "We will shut down the squadron for a week to conduct training like high-risk response. We have a team come in and focus on catastrophic events such as this or other contingencies requiring security forces, fire department and medical personnel to come together."
While all units conduct training often, the best training may be when an exercise occurs without warning.
"That is one thing about the Wolf Pack - this base provides a lot of training opportunities in an exercise sense," said Brown. "During the course of one year, we see about six operational readiness exercises, active shooter exercises, Beverly Bulldog or Beverly Midnights - there are so many different aspects of readiness here at Kunsan that you don't get anywhere else. Here, readiness is real."
While this exercise was a challenging one, it wasn't anything the Wolf Pack couldn't handle. Like wolves in the wild, Kunsan Airmen run as a pack and are always prepared to work together to get the job done - even under the most stressful of circumstances.