FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - Gunshots rang out throughout the hallways of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command's headquarters Thursday, September 14 as the command conducted an active-shooter exercise.
The training scenario involved a disgruntled employee moving throughout the building in search of his employer. Along the way, the disgruntled employee's intent was to cause as much carnage as possible. Once cornered, the employee took a hostage and attempted to make one last stand.
Simultaneously, Soldiers and civilians in the building and in close proximity to the shooter were expected to evacuate the building if able to, or hide and barricade their area of operations. These actions directly follow the "Run - Hide - Fight" principles of responding to real world active-shooter incident.
For those directly involved in the planning and execution of the active-shooter exercise, the scenario allowed 8th TSC personnel the opportunity to rehearse the proper procedures necessary to navigate this sort of action.
"This training is important simply because it is practical in today's social environment. Often, we turn on the news and see that there has been another school or office shooting. This training not only increased the readiness of the 8th TSC as an organization, but also individual readiness," said Capt. Caleb Lin, the 8th TSC's antiterrorism force protection chief. "Participants can take this training experience home and take care of their families if caught out in a shooting. Knowing what to do is the key to survival."
Assisting the 8th TSC throughout the training were members of the 8th Military Police Brigade, who provided the active-shooter role-player, the Special Reaction Team, medical and Department of the Army Civilian Police personnel. The U.S. Army Hawaii Directorate of Emergency Services was also on stand-by in case bystanders called 911 thinking the training was a real active-shooter situation.
For these organizations, the active-shooter exercise provided an opportunity for their personnel to participate in realistic training in a realistic setting.
"Training at the 8th TSC was a great opportunity to experience and tactically clear a building that we are not familiar with, along with the chance to interact with personnel that we do not know when it comes to conducting occupancy control and other tactical procedures," said 1st Lt. Joe Weisenstine, the officer in charge of the 39th Military Police Detachment's Special Reaction Team. "These two key factors provide very beneficial and realistic aspects to the exercise that are difficult for our team to find in other types of training that we do."
Weisenstine said that due to personnel experiencing various aspects of the exercise, all participants were able to come together and share what they saw, thought and felt.
Overall, Lin said the training met command's expectations and he looks forward to more of this type of training in the future.
"We expected appropriate actions to be taken during the training in response to an active-shooter. It's basically run, hide and fight," said Lin. "This is something that everyone needs to know. All Army training programs are important, but active shooter training is something that can make the difference between life and death."