By Mr. Jeremy Buddemeier (IMCOM)October 14, 2010
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - A bomb shattered the relative calm at the Rose Barracks' food court the morning of Sept. 25, tearing through tables and personnel, leaving a trail of carnage in its wake.
The culprit, a disgruntled and recently redeployed Soldier, nonchalantly left the scene and was joined by another Soldier on the other side of post, where the two went on a shooting rampage and took several hostages.
The scenario was part of "Charging Boar 2010," the garrison's annual anti-terrorism force protection exercise. This year, however, exercise planners took a different approach in light of the shootings last year at Fort Hood and Fort Bliss.
"The Army is transitioning from a terrorist-centric plan to an all-hazards plan," said Kim Alahmadi, U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr's emergency manager, who was the lead planner for the exercise. The all-hazards approach seeks to address more realistic threats, which are more likely to come from within the Army community, Alahmadi said.
An additional dimension of realism was further driven home by actual worldwide caution alerts from the State Department concerning threats of violence against U.S. citizens and interests in Europe prior to the exercise.
The realism of the exercise wasn't lost on Capt. Chris Haag, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, who played "shooter number 2" in the scenario.
Following the bomb detonation, the original culprit (played by Sgt. 1st Class Roger Muzzy) met Haag in Building 134, where the pair opened fire on nearly 100 community members who were taking a class.
Garrison military police Haag killed while he provided cover for Muzzy, who was holed up with hostages in a separate room.
"I didn't know which door they were coming through. They were really quiet," Haag said as he motioned to bruises on his arms and legs caused by rubber bullets.
Steve Hood, an observer-controller for the exercise and a former military policeman of 22 years, was similarly impressed with the MPs speed and stealth. He said the simplistic, realistic nature of the exercise appropriately tested garrison and host nation responders and allowed them to refine their coordination and communication.
"The support we've had from host nation and tenant units show how important it is to everybody," Hood said.
The exercise ended when members of the Sondereinsatzkommando (German police SWAT team from Nuremberg) neutralized Muzzy and freed the hostages. However, for Alahmadi and her team, the real work had just begun.
Besides the usual "hot wash-up," where participants critique the scenario immediately after the exercise, Alahmadi and her team plan to scour videotapes of the event for other areas in which to improve, and incorporate those lessons into planning for next year's exercise.
"The garrison plans to continue to evolve our program, exercising more diverse elements and increasing community involvement in our exercises," Alahmadi said.
Alahmadi said during actual emergencies the community can assist law enforcement by remaining alert and reporting any unusual behavior.