CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo--- A female role player in a hooded green jacket stands ready at the door of the post gym with a M4 rifle in hand. The loudspeaker sounds off prompting the installation that active shooter training will ensue at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, July 18, 2020.
In a swift response, Kosovo Force Regional Command East military police officers arrived at the gym, apprehended the surrendered active shooter, cleared the building and began rendering first aid during the Military Police-led active shooter training.
“Given the current state of the reality of the situation back home with active shooters, it is something we must train annually as a force protection measure,” said 1st Lt. Kasiym Bethea, Task Force Military Police Commander and duty officer for the training event.
In addition to COVID-19 force protection measures, TF MP has continued mission essential tasks by identifying additional force protection initiatives to enable KFOR RC-E’s mission of ensuring the safety and security and freedom of movement for all of the people in Kosovo.
Ahead of the training event, Bethea, a Soldier from the 423rd Military Police Company, New York Army Reserve, coordinated with primary responders from KBR Fire and EMS, Task Force Medical and TF Aviation MEDEVAC, so that as a collective, Regional Command East could evaluate their response time to an incident.
“We wanted to make sure that everyone is on the same page,” said Bethea. “There are a lot of hiccups that we discover by doing this training so that in real life if there is an incident we will know how to respond.”
Sgt. Justen Fernandez, of TF MP, and patrol shift supervisor, was the lead for the team that responded to the active shooter training event in the gym.
“In an active shooter scenario you eliminate the threat, but in this exercise the shooter surrendered,” said Fernandez. “The fact that they built this into the scenario builds the muscle memory of the shoot-don’t shoot scenario and split second decision making.”
Fernandez noted that there were multiple critically injured Soldiers on the scene and that his team was responsible for rendering more aid than normal over a longer period of time until the medical team arrived.
“We have to go in with a mindset to prepare to do more than just a tourniquet and save lives,” said Fernandez. “Soldiers are going to have to perform more medical because of our resources.”
The KBR Fire and EMS team were the next responders on scene after the MPs.
“We made a triage and treated the wounded as we reached them and depending on the wound we transported them to the base hospital,” said Ristic Nenand, assistant fire chief for Camp Bondsteel KBR Fire and EMS.
“It is important because it gives our team good practice for a real life scenario. It is our role to assist the military in these situations and transporting patients to the hospital.”
After reaching the hospital, Task Force Medical, TF Aviation and the MEDEVAC team worked together to quickly enact their processes and procedures for the critically injured patients and transport them off base for treatment.
The base-wide event included multiple safety officers on scene preventing personnel from entering the training area in response to simunition rounds from the exercise.
As an added force protection measure, non-participating units trained on the ‘run, hide, fight’ tactic and other procedures for responding to active shooter scenarios.
“Working with first responder counterparts and figuring out any deficiencies is an invaluable training experience,” said Fernandez. “It is critical to the mission that we have a muscle memory of what to expect with the reality of what resources we have available out here and response times.”