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Active Shooter Exercise
Staff Sgt. John Duffen, 78th Security Forces Squadron, makes his way through a building May 20, 2014, during an active-shooter exercise at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ray Crayton)
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Exercise, Exercise, Exercise: Robins tests its mettle during Oscar-worthy scenario

Posted 5/22/2014   Updated 5/22/2014 Email story   Print story


by Brian Shreve
Robins Public Affairs

5/22/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.  -- A lone gunman went on a mass shooting spree Tuesday at Robins, leaving several people dead before taking his own life.

Well, not really.

But, many of those on hand for the simulated active shooter scenario may have had to remind themselves that is was an exercise.

The basewide scenario was played out in realistic, gritty detail, all in an effort to prepare emergency personnel and all Robins employees for a potential crisis.

The command post announced the lockdown via the "giant voice" system as the entire installation closed for roughly 15 minutes with the exception of emergency outbound traffic at one of the gates.

The annual exercise - an Air Force requirement - took place at Bldgs. 2072 and 2053, with Tech. Sgt. Andre Sanchez-Romero, a 78th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, acting as a gunman intent on a murderous rampage, ultimately leaving 20 volunteer "victims" dead or wounded.

With no shortcuts taken in blood and moulage, the entire event - which took eight weeks to plan - was worthy of Oscar nominations.

Only training weapons were used in the exercise.

"Safety was paramount. The bottom line is we didn't want anybody getting hurt," said Dave Berry, 78th Inspector General's chief of inspections planning. "We had to notify everyone in those buildings beforehand because we certainly didn't want to surprise or scare anybody."

The staged crisis began with 911 calls to the Base Defense Operations Center and ended with simulated medical treatment and analyses of the crime scene and shooter's vehicle by the Office of Special Investi-gations personnel.

The 78th Force Support Squadron handled proper notification to victims' families, and the coroner was on hand to assess the fatalities.

On Wednesday, mental health evaluations were even carried out for first responders and witnesses acting as sufferers of post-traumatic stress following the incident.

The active shooter scenario is a collaborative effort that includes inspection team exercise members from emergency response functions, FSS, OSI, IGO and the base chaplain.

"We try to make it as real as possible, so we can get added value for the people who work here," said Tony Purtee, 78th IG inspection exercise manager. "We want to touch everybody and make sure they know these procedures for lockdown situations."

5/27/2014 1:32:57 PM ET
I would like to send a huge thank you and praise to all who volunteered help plan this event and all the additional agiences that it takes to provide a real life example of what could happen. Safety is so important here at Robins an each day we go home to our familes and the warfighter back to thiers is in my thoughts a Great Day at Robins
Debra Harris, 402 CMXG
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