By Nathan Van Schaik, USAG Bavaria Public AffairsFebruary 22, 2017
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Garrison officials here recently received high scores during a function-focused inspection and a crisis response exercise.
Inspectors with Installation Management Command-Europe conducted a four-day-long inspection and triggered a crisis scenario pitting response teams against real-world events.
The objective of the inspection -- part of IMCOM's Organizational Inspection Program -- focused on a garrison commander's workforce force and its delivery of services and programs.
Inspectors assessed core areas common among all of IMCOM's 75 garrisons worldwide.
More specifically, they oversaw and graded garrison infrastructure, waste management, energy consumption, finances, emergency procedures, physical security, religious services, safety procedures and human resources functions such as its SHARP program and Army Substance Abuse Program processes.
But the true test came when those same inspectors sprung a real-world crisis known as a Garrison Shock exercise.
"Garrisons conduct annual full-scale exercises that typically occur during normal duty hours and lack the element of surprise," said Ray Jackson, IMCOM-Europe emergency manager. "Garrison Shock exercises deliver no-notice realism."
At 5 p.m. during the inspection's first day, garrison officials began receiving reports of an inclement weather front that would shut down all four of U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria's communities in Garmisch, Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels and Vilseck. The storm loomed as a potential humanitarian threat, knocking out power, displacing families and interrupting major services.
Garrison officials quickly stood up their Emergency Operations Center, which is the nerve center of data collection and decision-making. Weather reports were ushered in, followed by immediate notional AtHoc messages to the public. AtHoc is the primary means for mass warning and notification for the Army in Europe, said Jackson.
"From de-escalating a hostage situation, managing a terrorist attack or tackling a quality of life issue, our ability to track a crisis and stand up an EOC is what we're prepared to do 24/7 every day of the year," said USAG Bavaria garrison commander, Col. Lance Varney.
"Our response demonstrated," Varney added, "how USAG Bavaria implements and exudes the 'Fight Tonight' mentality."
Staff made preparations to stand-up shelters, beef-up food supplies, secure vulnerable areas, and close schools and services -- all while keeping the public safe and informed.
By 9:30 p.m., garrison officials working from the EOC had control of the situation.
"We are always ready to 'Fight Tonight'," Varney said. "It's how we as a garrison contribute to the Army's strategic, operational and tactical readiness."