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Force Protection MARE tests Dover AFB’s preparedness

A 436th Security Forces Squadron response force team clears the C-5M Super Galaxy cargo compartment after entering the aircraft from a rear door Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. The response force team located and neutralized the mock hijacker who was holding mock hostages in the aircraft’s troop compartment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

A 436th Security Forces Squadron response force team clears the C-5M Super Galaxy cargo compartment after entering the aircraft from a rear door Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. The response force team located and neutralized the mock hijacker who was holding mock hostages in the aircraft’s troop compartment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Justin Viens, supervisory police officer, and Master Sgt. Michael Kohne, flight chief, both assigned to the 436th Security Forces Squadron, go through an incident checklist to set up a cordon Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Viens and Kohne coordinated efforts to secure the area around the base’s centralized mail handling facility where a mock unknown substance had leaked from a package inside the mailroom. This scenario was part of the base-wide Force Protection/Major Accident Response Exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Justin Viens, supervisory police officer, and Master Sgt. Michael Kohne, flight chief, both assigned to the 436th Security Forces Squadron, go through an incident checklist to set up a cordon Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Viens and Kohne coordinated efforts to secure the area around the base’s centralized mail handling facility where a mock unknown substance had leaked from a package inside the mailroom. This scenario was part of the base-wide Force Protection/Major Accident Response Exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Staff Sgt. Johny Hargrove, right, describes the exercise scenario to Tech. Sgt. Jason Evans, center, and Senior Airman Jacob Gerow, left, all assigned to the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. The three responded to the base’s centralized mail handling facility as part of the two-day Force Protection/Major Accident Response Exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Staff Sgt. Johny Hargrove, right, describes the exercise scenario to Tech. Sgt. Jason Evans, center, and Senior Airman Jacob Gerow, left, all assigned to the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. The three responded to the base’s centralized mail handling facility as part of the two-day Force Protection/Major Accident Response Exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Staff Sgt. Johny Hargrove, 436th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight craftsman, places a mock unknown substance in a vial Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Donned in protective gear, Hargrove used a test kit to identify the mock hazardous substance that came from a package inside the base centralized mail handling facility’s mailroom. This scenario was part of a two-day Force Protection/Major Accident Response Exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Staff Sgt. Johny Hargrove, 436th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight craftsman, places a mock unknown substance in a vial Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Donned in protective gear, Hargrove used a test kit to identify the mock hazardous substance that came from a package inside the base centralized mail handling facility’s mailroom. This scenario was part of a two-day Force Protection/Major Accident Response Exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Airman 1st Class Denzel Gills, 9th Airlift Squadron aviation research management journeyman, stands guard near a flight line vehicle access gate Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Gills was one of 34 Integrated Base Defense certified individuals who provided security for personnel and base assets during a two-day Force Protection/Major Accident Response Exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Airman 1st Class Denzel Gills, 9th Airlift Squadron aviation research management journeyman, stands guard near a flight line vehicle access gate Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Gills was one of 34 Integrated Base Defense certified individuals who provided security for personnel and base assets during a two-day Force Protection/Major Accident Response Exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

A 436th Security Forces Squadron response force member responds to a simulated bomb threat at the Command Post building Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Wing Inspection Team members observed and evaluated the evacuation and actions taken by first responders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

A 436th Security Forces Squadron response force member responds to a simulated bomb threat at the Command Post building Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Wing Inspection Team members observed and evaluated the evacuation and actions taken by first responders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Two 436th Security Forces Squadron response force members take cover behind their vehicles positioned in front of a C-5M Super Galaxy as part of anti-hijacking measures Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. More than 20 response force members and other first responders positioned themselves and vehicles around the C-5M in response to a simulated attempted hijacking and hostage scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Two 436th Security Forces Squadron response force members take cover behind their vehicles positioned in front of a C-5M Super Galaxy as part of anti-hijacking measures Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. More than 20 response force members and other first responders positioned themselves and vehicles around the C-5M in response to a simulated attempted hijacking and hostage scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Staff Sgt. Allen Riley, 436th Security Forces Squadron response force leader, takes a prone position on the floor of a C-5M Super Galaxy cargo compartment after entering the aircraft from a rear door Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Riley and other response force members located and neutralized the mock hijacker who was holding mock hostages in the aircraft’s troop compartment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Staff Sgt. Allen Riley, 436th Security Forces Squadron response force leader, takes a prone position on the floor of a C-5M Super Galaxy cargo compartment after entering the aircraft from a rear door Sept. 17, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Riley and other response force members located and neutralized the mock hijacker who was holding mock hostages in the aircraft’s troop compartment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Senior Airman Hakeim McKenzie, driver/operator, and Jeffrey McCombs, fire captain, both assigned to the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department, get in position to extinguish a simulated vehicle fire during a Force Protection/Major Accident Response Exercise scenario Sept. 18, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Numerous base agencies were evaluated on responding to the mock vehicle gate runner and intoxicated driver involved in a motor vehicle accident. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Senior Airman Hakeim McKenzie, driver/operator, and Jeffrey McCombs, fire captain, both assigned to the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department, get in position to extinguish a simulated vehicle fire during a Force Protection/Major Accident Response Exercise scenario Sept. 18, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Numerous base agencies were evaluated on responding to the mock vehicle gate runner and intoxicated driver involved in a motor vehicle accident. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Justin Viens, supervisory police officer, observes Staff Sgt. Joshua Olsen, response force member, both assigned to the 436th Security Forces Squadron, as Olsen checks the pockets of a simulated vehicle gate runner and intoxicated driver involved in a motor vehicle accident Sept. 18, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Tech. Sgt. Samuel Smolarek, 709th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, played the role of the driver while Viens used the exercise scenario to train Olsen on various field sobriety check methods during the base-wide Force Protection/Major Accident Response Exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)
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Justin Viens, supervisory police officer, observes Staff Sgt. Joshua Olsen, response force member, both assigned to the 436th Security Forces Squadron, as Olsen checks the pockets of a simulated vehicle gate runner and intoxicated driver involved in a motor vehicle accident Sept. 18, 2018, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Tech. Sgt. Samuel Smolarek, 709th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, played the role of the driver while Viens used the exercise scenario to train Olsen on various field sobriety check methods during the base-wide Force Protection/Major Accident Response Exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Bomb threats, car crashes, attempted hijackings, hostages, active shooters … these are all situations no one wants, especially on a military installation. But that is exactly what happened last week when Team Dover “survived” a Force Protection/Major Accident Response Exercise here Sept. 16-18.

Several base personnel were tested in a series of realistic scenarios to evaluate the base’s response to various force protection events, test first and emergency responders, and test the base’s ability to operate under various Force Protection levels.

After six weeks of planning, 436th Airlift Wing Inspector General presented six scenarios during the three-day exercise involving most base agencies, 34 Integrated Base Defense certified individuals and Wing Inspection Team members. This type of exercise is an annual requirement, which demands the synchronization of all involved base agencies in order to maximize training opportunities as well as identify and remedy anything that could be an issue during a real-world incident.

“It’s important to exercise increased force protection condition levels so everybody on base knows what to expect in the event we elevate them for real threats,” said Maj. Brandon Ongna, 436th AW chief of exercises.

Leading into the exercise scenarios, simulated intelligence gathering efforts identified possible mock threats against Dover AFB which prompted base leadership to activate the Crisis Action Team Sunday night and elevate the Force Protection level.

“These exercises take a lot of … inter-agency teamwork … teamwork by the executive staff and our mid-level staff to coordinate these events to make sure we are working together,” said Justin Viens, 436th Security Forces Squadron supervisory police officer.

On Monday morning, the first scenario depicted a mock foreign national pedestrian played by Master Sgt. Patrick Hunt, 436th SFS logistics and readiness superintendent, attempting to illegally access the base. During the scenario, Hunt was confronted and detained by Airman 1st Class Georgie Boyd, 436th SFS response force leader. A search of Hunt revealed a note containing mock intelligence confirming a possible threat against Dover AFB.

“As the day progressed, we responded to a suspicious package at the post office,” said Viens. “My role along with Master Sgt. Michael Kohne, 436th SFS flight chief, [was acting] flight leaders for the event. We initially took response and set up as incident commander until we could transfer command to the fire department.”

Later that night, the IG unleashed two more scenarios, the first being a bomb threat prompting the evacuation of Command Post and relocation of personnel, followed by the attempted hijacking of a C-5M Super Galaxy. Numerous vehicles from the Fire Department and SFS surrounded the Super Galaxy as response force members planned their entry method, neutralization of the mock hijacker, and the rescue of any hostages.

“The importance of the exercise is to show that we have the capabilities to handle anything we are thrown, any time, any day, no matter if it is raining, snowing, in the middle of the night or early in the morning,” said Viens.

In the final scenarios, Security Forces were forced to deploy the barrier at the gate when a vehicle ran through the checkpoint. Later they simulated another vehicle running the checkpoint at the north gate, crashing into a bus and erupting into a vehicle fire. These situations tested the response of SFS and Fire Department personnel.

“Overall, the exercise was a success,” said Ongna. “It provided valuable exposure to base personnel and identified lessons-learned that will improve our ability to respond to such emergencies in the future.”