Exercise tests Camp Humphreys' ability to respond to incidents
When U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys exercise planners began crafting the scenario for its annual full-scale exercise they wanted to test not only the garrison, they wanted to test the community. By the end of the four-day event Humphreys community members had encountered unannounced gate closures, force protection measures, shelter in place events and restricted movement. “It tests our capability to respond, mitigate and recover from all types of hazardous events—terrorist attacks, destructive weather, accidents, floods,” according to exercise planner and controller James R. Salyers.
“The intent was to involve the whole community,” Salyers said. “The community should know how to respond.” A team from Installation Management Command-Pacific evaluated the garrison throughout the week. The exercise began with an in briefing Monday, May 9; the scenarios began to unfold Tuesday, May 10, with a simulated airplane crash. This event tested a number of emergency services—fire, aircrew recovery and patient triage.
During their recovery of the Army aircrew something unexpected happened: one of the firefighters collapsed, simulating some kind of malady. This forced the rescue crews to split their effort between the aircrew and one of their own. They performed a quick evaluation of the fallen firefighter, loaded him onto a litter and carried him to the triage point about 150 meters from the plane.
At the triage site, Army medics from the Humphreys Health Clinic performed emergency first aid and prepared the victims for evacuation. Following the simulated plane crash the garrison faced another critical situation—a simulated prisoner escape from the U.S. Army Correctional Facility Korea here. This led to a lock down at the gates and shelter in place until military police located and apprehended the escaped prisoner.
During a shelter in place building occupants move to a predetermined secure area in the facility and remain until they are told by emergency services it is safe to come out.
“These scenarios are designed to protect the community and demonstrate the effectiveness of the first responders,” Salyers said. More scenarios followed as the week progressed. A simulated fire in an American’s off post apartment led to the activation of the garrison’s Family Assistance Center. When active the FAC provides support and resources to families displaced by such events. Throughout the week, Salyers injected terrorist – related information into the scenario, to test the garrison staff and build toward another event—a simulated bombing in an underground parking garage.
The bomber attacked Thursday, May 12, when he detonated a small explosive device in a car. Several people were killed or injured by the blast causing a mass-casualty scenario. “ This allowed the medics to demonstrate their response and to conduct a medical surge at our health clinic,” Salyers said. The simulated bombing brought in a team from the 718th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company based in Yongsan . The EOD Soldiers conducted a forensic scene identification at the bombsite to gather evidence that would help them determine the type and size of the explosive device.
At the same time Army Criminal Investigative Command special agents worked to determine the identity and location of the bomber. When CID identified the bomber and his location, Military Police from the Yongsan Special Response Team took over and apprehended him.
Salyers said the garrison was evaluated on 23 of 30 capabilities listed in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Exercise and Evaluation Program. The program rates organizations fully-trained, practiced and untrained. “This is our Super Bowl , our emergency services are being evaluated; IMCOM-Pacific takes their measure and determines if we are ready.” At the end of the exercise the garrison rated fully-trained in 19 of the 23 capabilities. Four capabilities were rated practiced.
“Practiced means we’re capable of performing them but have some room for improvement,” he said. And, equally important, Salyers said, is educating the community. It conditions the community to know what could happen; it’s part of our on-going program to educate the community,” he said. “It’s part of Ready Army.” Salyers said that the exercise involved every organization on post, including mission units from the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade and 3rd Military Intelligence Brigade. “Everyone did really well,” he said. “Humphreys is at an increased state of preparedness and ready to respond to any emergency situation.”