175th Wing's Emergency Response Tested During Exercise

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Chris Schepers
  • 175th Wing

The 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard, conducted an anti-terrorism/force protection exercise at Warfield Air National Guard Base at Martin State Airport from September 8-10.

The exercise tested the response of the 175th Security Forces Squadron to an on-base attack and gauged how unit anti-terrorism representatives and the entire base populace responded to an elevated force protection condition. In the early morning hours of the first day, the exercise commenced when the command post received intelligence of simulated threats to the installation from foreign state-sponsored saboteurs.

After the initial notification process was complete and the Wing’s threat working group was recalled, the base was placed in a simulated FPCON Charlie status, which required Airmen to follow heightened safety precautions aimed to secure critical facilities and personnel.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Allison Fleming, anti-terrorism and operations officer with the 175th SFS said it was “crucial” to exercise in a simulated environment along with Airmen across the base. The 175th Civil Engineering Squadron moved barriers to the security gate to moderate traffic flow on and off base, additional ID check points were setup at facilities, and the command post delivered time-sensitive messages to all Airmen via texts, phone calls, and email.

“I want our Airmen to prioritize security and realize how important it is that we are prepared to operate under these circumstances,” said Fleming. “My goal was to give our people that experience of having to go through extra security when driving on base or walking into their building, so when and if the time comes and we have to do this for real, we are ready.”

At another point during the exercise, suspicious personnel were taking photos of the front gate and many Airmen reported the activity to the base defense operations center, following the recommendations of the U.S. Air Force Eagle Eyes anti-terrorism program. The initiative encourages Airmen to help prevent attacks through awareness, vigilant observation, and reporting suspicious activities.

“As threats at home and around the globe evolve, we must continue to adapt our training to ensure our Airmen are fully prepared,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Jori Robinson, commander of the 175th Wing. “It is the job of every Airman to know the proper procedures and how to respond before we have a real-world attack. It is crucial we identity any shortfalls now and take steps to correct them so we can continue to focus on the mission and our Airmen."

Again, in the early morning hours of next day, a red team simulated a penetration of the flightline and “attacked an A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft. After members of the 175th SFS subdued the “attackers,” Robinson was notified via Security Forces personnel.

“My security forces members did their job and performed their duties with professionalism and skill,” said Fleming. “After they stopped the initial threat, [the Airmen] initiated all of the proper follow-on procedures that started the notification process and ensured all proper safety measures were continued under FPCON Charlie.”

After the exercise ended and the simulated threat level returned to normal, Wing leadership expects more opportunities to practice and evaluate the safety and security of the base because they know adversaries are watching.

“Even though this exercise was challenging, especially for Security Forces, we will continue to set the bar high for future exercises so we all know what needs to be done if there is an attack on base,” said Robinson. “I am always impressed with how our Airmen perform during rapidly changing exercises and still accomplish their day-to-day missions. As their commander, I am extremely proud of how they performed.”