CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea – Personnel on Camp Humphreys conducted a multi-day exercise to train on emergency operations. The exercise spanned from April 24-27 and included training on increased force protection levels, gate runners, suspicious packages and accidents resulting in multiple causalities.
“The whole purpose (…) is to prepare for when an incident does happen so that we’re ready to react and support the troops,” said Robert Nelson, operations chief for the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) and battle captain during the exercise. “Additionally, we work to stablish a safe and secure environment for everybody and make sure we’re providing the right amount of support to make sure support is there for our Soldiers, civilians and Koreans.”
The first day, participants encountered a fictional scenario, which resulted in gates closing. The event took place at one of the gates at Humphreys allowing the players to physically close the gate based on the fictional situation. By doing so, personnel were able to evaluate their capabilities and determine ways to improve.
In addition to training emergency personnel, across the installation in an emergency operations center, leaders from agencies across the Humphreys installation, mimicked responding to the scenarios as they unfolded. Questions ranged from information sharing, to feeding the Humphreys community, to maintaining operations without the support of local nationals. Included in the participants were installation staff as well as fourth-estate organizations such as the Defense Commissary Agency, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, and Department of Defense Education Agency.
“The first day was really about looking at different (force protection conditions) and looking at what services would be encumbered by going to a higher level of FPCON, because we don’t routinely go to a higher level,” said Nelson.
Day two involved multiple events happening simultaneously in order to create a situation that added an additional stressor for the emergency personnel. Between a vehicle breeching the gate, a suspicious package and a multi-casualty accident, the scenario required organizations to work together.
“The key is to get the staff to start thinking out the process and procedures of how we support,” said Nelson. “We work as a group but we all belong to different organizations and directorates and we have to come together as a team and work as a team. So, there is a bit of relationships building, as well as learning who to call and when to call to get that support.”
At another location on the installation, members of the 718 Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) addressed a fictional situation involving a vehicle with a potential improvised explosive device. In case the explosive was wired to the door hinge, a TALON robot is used to remotely inspect the vehicle while its operators are in a EOD truck further away.
"718th EODs participation in the exercise was critical to not only practice integration of EOD capabilities into Camp Humphreys incident command system and emergency measures, but also reinforce our partnership and interoperability with diverse organizations to ultimately enhance force protection readiness," said Lt. Keegan Buros, 2nd Platoon leader for 718 Ordnance Company.
Mike Nave, a logistics management specialist with 403rd Army Field Support Battalion Korea, said this was his second time participating in an incident operations exercise. He believes it is important to participate in exercises such as these in order to “find flaws in the system.” He hopes the community realizes the effort that goes into the protection of the installation.
“These exercises are necessary to help ensure their safety,” said Nave. “They should feel more comfortable knowing that we, as an element, are working our best to try and make sure that we are doing everything we to ensure their safety. No matter what situations come our way, we’ve done everything we possibly can do to find a mitigating factor or process in order to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”