MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania — It is a sunny, warm day on the air base in Romania. Transient personnel sit in the post movie theater enjoying their morning when they notice something amiss. An Airman stands up in the theater and makes a call on his cell phone.
“There is an active shooter in the theater.”
Soldiers, Marines and Airmen on Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, took part in an active-shooter exercise at the base theater March 20.
“This exercise is going to involve personnel from all over the base and all of the branches of service,” said Capt. Thomas L. Dixon, 202nd Military Police Company, 93rd Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade. “We are going to have Army military police, Air Force security forces, Army medics, Army firefighters, the Air Force flight surgeon, chaplains and civilians present. Members of the Romanian military will also be observing our personnel as they engage in this exercise.”
The goal of the exercise was to test the capabilities and response time of all emergency response personnel. The first to respond to the emergency call were military police Soldiers from the 202nd MP Co. based in Fort Bliss, Texas, who arrived on scene within five minutes of the call. After neutralizing the shooter, they took control of the situation.
“I believe that active-shooter training is always important, because it is something we as military police may encounter,” said Pfc. Tyheem A. Alphonso, military policeman from the 202nd MP Co., who neutralized the shooter.
With the shooter neutralized, medics and firefighters rushed to the scene to administer medical care and coordinate evacuation of casualties. Soldiers assigned to the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 557th Medical Company, 421st Multi-Medical Battalion, 30th Medical Brigade assessed each casualty’s medical condition while members of the 513th Firefighting Detachment, 20th Engineer Brigade set up casualty collection points outside. Personnel from all branches assisted in carrying the wounded to the casualty collection points.
While the casualties waited outside for transportation, chaplains visited with each of them to provide counsel.
“We wanted this to be as realistic as possible, so we moved through the simulated casualties to provide counsel,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Thomas J. Gentry, 875th Engineer Battalion. “It is important for us to know what to do in these scenarios as well.”
Within one hour of the emergency call, the exercise was complete. All personnel involved gathered in the theater to discuss ways to improve in the future. All involved agreed this was a valuable training exercise and aided in the base’s future readiness, said Sgt. Daniel J. Blackhorse, military policeman assigned to the 202nd MP Co.
“This was very important, because active shooter scenarios are something we have seen on Army installations,” Blackhorse said. “This was great training for everyone involved.”