DAEGU, South Korea -- In critical times every second, minute and action counts and can make the difference between lives saved and lives lost.
U.S. Forces Korea antiterrorism and force protection agencies evaluate how Area IV Soldiers react to crises during the Adaptive Focus exercise May 24-26 at Camps Henry and Walker.
First response teams from the fire departments, military police and medical units responded to various simulated scenarios of acts of terrorism, from chemical and biological attacks, to vehicle borne improvised explosive devices, and even an active shooter vignette.
“Adaptive focus gives each installation commander an outside look from subject matter experts on how each installation commander’s antiterrorism consequence management plan would play out,” said Air Force Col. Warren Keithley, USFK J-34 Antiterrorism Force Protection chief.
The scenarios allow for the garrison to assess threats and determine force protection condition measures, adjust planning and training, identify resources to mitigate vulnerabilities and exercise to focus on priorities.
During a simulated biological attack on Camp Walker near the overpass, firefighters from Fire Station 1, with assistance from Camp Henry Fire Station 2 crew, assessed the situation and acted accordingly.
Once it had been affirmed there was a biological agent in the vicinity, fire station crew members set up a decontamination station and proceeded to take actions to control the area. Securing a sample of the biological agent the firefighters passed the sample through the chain of custody to be sent out for further testing at higher levels.
At a simulated vehicle borne improvised explosive device attack at the Camp Walker Gate 1, patrolling military police the area secured the area setting up road blocks and called for medical aid. Ambulances and fire trucks rushed to the scene and evaluated casualties and proceeded to provide medical attention to those wounded in the incident.
“My initial feeling, first and foremost is always about the patients,” said Sgt. Lonnie Devore II, 75th Medical Company Area Support medic.
In the scenario the dead’s remains were gathered and treated appropriately.
In a simulated chemical attack at the Camp Walker Community Activity Center, military police set up a perimeter around the building to prevent further contamination.
Firefighters then entered the building collecting casualties and taking them to a safe location to go through decontamination procedures and be treated by medical providers.
Medics and ambulances were readily available to transport wounded victims.
“Accomplishment of the mission isn’t just about taking care of the injured, but taking care of your Soldiers as well,” Devore said. “Without your team, you cannot accomplish the mission.”
In order to be prepared, for these events, he said Soldiers must, “Train, train, train.”
“With my past experiences I was able to take from those experiences and incorporate them into the mission,” said Devore, who has served for nine years and drawn from his time deployed in Iraq.
The Adaptive Focus exercise now encompasses an active shooter vignette implemented on peninsula November 2010.
Keithly said, after the Fort Hood incident, there has been a lot of emphasis in the Department of Defense to devise ways to react to such events.
“Obviously we have had these terrible types of events happen in our community, schools and universities,” Keithley said.
Military police responded to a call of a shooter opening fire.
Loud speakers sounded with announcements urging everyone to seek shelter and remain indoors with the lights off and doors locked.
Military police proceeded to breach the building where the shooter had rampaged through leaving six dead and several wounded.
The shooter once cornered, committed suicide. Medics then treated injured victims evacuated from the building by firefighters.
Due to the elevated threat from the continued armistice between the two Koreas, garrison commanders are responsible for ensuring their installations are prepared for any antiterrorism force protection crises.
“USFK is in force protection condition Bravo and has been for years, which means there is a more predictable threat in this environment because of the geographical location we are in and the reason we are here on the peninsula,” Keithley said. “We need to ensure that our military and civilian forces are protected and that we exercise antiterrorism plans to do that for people,.
“Antiterrorism force protection is important for military members and their families and allows for the mission of the garrison to continue,” Keithley said.
The exercise closed with a non-attributed report from the combined antiterrorism force protection agencies with recommendations to the installation commander on how to improve their antiterrorism consequence management plans.