CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea - Sounds of small arms fire pierced the brisk, heavy late evening air as defensive forces inside U.S. Army installations here braced themselves to withstand simultaneous coordinated attacks on all access control point gates throughout Warrior Country - a situation that made for an intense exercise.

The exercise was conducted Feb. 22-23 at all major installations in Area I as part of a Defense Department and Department of the Army annual requirement. The realistic scenario known across the DoD and Army as a base defense anti-terrorism exercise was re-invented as a Full Spectrum Operations for the Area I training event.

Second Infantry Division Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver Brig. Gen. Charles Taylor said, at the core of the plan's concept was the idea that everything Soldiers do is an exercise in force protection.

The exercise was designed to validate and improve the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud force protection program and anti-terrorism plan and demonstrate the combined forces' capability to conduct a full spectrum of operations and increased force protection levels as it transitions to wartime operational plans with its 2ID partner units.

"It was very impressive," said Doug Atwater, director of the USAG Red Cloud's Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security and the exercise coordinator, about the final event. "A coordinated enemy full assault was not in my original scenario, but it gave all the Soldiers a lot of excitement at the end of the exercise. Usually these exercises come to an anti-climactic end, but Brigadier General Taylor injected a dynamic touch by planning the final piece of the exercise to give everybody a lot of excitement and training. It was very beneficial."

Fully developed scenarios included a telephonic bomb threat to the school, an active shooter with mass casualties, a hostage situation, Portal Shield chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear detection and decontamination of troops and equipment, a vehicle borne improvised explosive device detonation with mass casualties, suspicious backpacks with actual and inert explosive material, attempted entries with falsified identification cards at access points on all installations, personnel reacting to media on the battlefield and even mock press conferences conducted by USAG Red Cloud and 2ID commanders.

Atwater said this exercise was the first time Warrior Country installations fully exercised Force Protection Condition Delta simultaneously across all bases thereby limiting access to U.S. identification cardholders and emergency essential Korean employees. To add to the realism, all non-essential Army and Air Force Exchange Service and Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities and services were shut down when FPCON Delta was activated Feb. 23.

Making the scenario a full spectrum operation also permitted the garrison to exercise memorandums of agreement with Republic of Korea Army units - the 65th ROK Division and the 75th Infantry Regiment - to deploy and provide perimeter security patrols around camps Casey, Hovey, Red Cloud and Stanley.

For this year's exercise, the ROK Army's 56th Ammunition Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Detachment) was activated to respond to and disarm actual explosive material at an access point gate. The 8th Army Special Reaction Team and 8th Army EOD also participated.

"Brig. Gen. Taylor with Maj. Gen. (Michael S.) Tucker's endorsement tasked us to design and conduct an exercise that would have all these events on all of the bases through the two days," Atwater said. "Every one of the DOD and Department of the Army requirements for an ATFP exercise was conducted on all four of the main bases in Area I."

USAG Red Cloud Commander Col. Hank Dodge acknowledged the value to the units that participated. "By conducting a real full spectrum for protection exercise across all four bases simultaneously, we achieved a significant degree of training readiness for the garrison, the 304th Signal Battalion, the 2nd Infantry Division, other tenant units and our ROK Army partners," he said.

"The idea is that we exercise our battle drills and plans here today and improve on them so that we can save lives in the future," Taylor said.

Page last updated Fri March 4th, 2011 at 08:34