Motorists encountered delays as they entered select gates on Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield earlier this week and that’s exactly what emergency response crews had in mind.
As drivers weaved in and out of concrete barriers making their way on and off the installation, what many didn’t realize is that they were playing an important part in the latest integrated installation safety exercise.
Installation agencies practiced their emergency response capabilities, Dec. 7-8 with a barrier exercise at Fort Stewart’s Britt Gate and Hunter Army Airfield’s Wilson gate.
The Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Support hosts two integrated installation exercises annually. This week, the installation had a chance to implement and validate emergency response to a scenario that involved placing barriers at our installation access points.
“Barrier exercises are important because the concrete barriers can mitigate vehicles coming onto the installation and slow down traffic for better security,” said Beau Bradley, DPTMS garrison exercise planner.
Bradley was responsible for creating this week’s exercise. He, along with others from the DPTMS as well as the directorates of emergency services, human resources, public works, and other garrison offices came together to hash out the details to make the exercise rigorous and successful.
“As the exercise designer, I try to network with all major stakeholders on both Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield to develop robust exercises that ensure the safety and security of all Soldiers and Families,” he said.
While small in scope, this week’s exercise will lead up to a larger-scale exercise, Stewart Guardian, scheduled for April 16-22, 2022.
“The garrison commander, in some regards, serves as a community mayor,” Bradley said. “Part of his responsibility is the protection of the installation which means that we have a requirement twice a year to host protection exercises.”
Planning for the exercise began months in advance.The exercise was designed to be challenging but not impossible. Overall, the intent was to identify areas of both success and improvement.
“As with any training event, we observed areas to improve on and these will be addressed on the corrective action plans,” Bradley said.
Garrison Commander Col. Manny Ramirez called the exercise a success.
“This exercise was an excellent opportunity to test our systems and capabilities,” Ramirez said. “It’s all about learning and growing in order to keep our community safe.”
While the exercise did result in some minor traffic impacts due to the implementation of the barriers, it proved successful in identifying areas to sustain and improve in the event that barriers are needed for a real world emergency.
Fort Stewart exercise planners and leadership appreciate the patience of the community during this week’s exercise.