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Ensuring readiness: 379th AEW holds antiterrorism exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cynthia A. Innocenti
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Boots jostled the ground as they moved toward the scene. Bullet holes painted the sides of a bus, bloody wounds were affixed to simulated victims, and temperature continued to rise as 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Airmen were put to the test Nov. 2, during an antiterrorism, force protection exercise here.


In accordance with Air Force instructions and Department of Defense directives, wing inspection team Airmen constructed the hypothetical scenario for Airmen to respond to and demonstrate their capabilities.  


“It’s important to exercise the procedures that are in place to ensure the safety of our personnel and the ability to execute our mission,” said Capt. Christina Buchholz, an exercise planner and WIT manager with the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing.


A simulated target of opportunity terrorist attack launched the exercise as role players acted out driving a truck onto base, hitting a bus with four Airmen aboard, firing upon the bus and finally attempting to flee.


Once a WIT member acting as a bystander called the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, a chain of responses started to unfold. Sirens flashed and wailed as truck tires kicked up clouds of dust and Airmen dashed from their vehicles to apprehend the assailants.


Airmen from across the 379th Medical Group and 379th Mission Support Group  also had their response measures evaluated as they tended to first sergeants from the 379th AEW who were staged as victims complete with moulage, a technique using mock injuries  and artificial wounds.


“Creating a realistic scenario for Airmen to navigate is important,” said Master Sgt. Heather Fleeger, first sergeant with the 379th AEW.


Master Sgt. Fleeger said she has been a part of multiple mass casualty exercises and values every one of them. She said it is critical to create these potential incidents in order to see how Airmen naturally respond and for them to get a feel for working together.


While wing personnel enacted their appropriate responses, members of the WIT team documented accordingly. After the scenario had played out, the members of the WIT gather their documentation to analyze current procedures in place to see if they are sustainable, or if they need to be advanced.


“The data gathered from the training exercise helps WIT members identify procedure gaps that they may not have been aware of, that way we can disperse this back to the appropriate units to be corrected, to ensure future mission success,” said Buchholz.