Airmen, Soldiers and Germans lead the way in KMC Exercise

Christine June
415th Base Support Battalion

***image1***The KMC Exercise held Saturday at Ramstein and Landstuhl Regional
Medical Center was the first of its kind and most likely, the wave of
the future for this annual KMC requirement said Henry K. Ka’aihue,
415th Base Support Battalion force protection officer.

“This is the first actual exercise where we incorporated Air Force and
Army planning,” said Mr. Ka’aihue, KMC Exercise lead planner.

The coordination between the two services from conception to execution
is what made this year’s weapons-of-mass-destruction exercise different
from any of the past KMC Army-owned exercises, said Tech. Sgt. Mark R.
Hopkins, 435th Inspections and Readiness NCO in charge.

Mr. Ka’aihue said the Air Force and Army crises-management agencies
started planning last December, and the City and County of
Kaiserslautern fire and medical services joined a few months later.

“We’ll probably take this one step further and also include the host
nation in the initial coordination of future exercises, but I think
this is a stepping stone with the synchronization between the two
services,” he said. “This exercise proved it can be done.”

Past Army-required exercises included the Air Force in the KMC because
it has the first-responder requirement here, stated Mr. Ka’aihue. He
added, the host nation has also been involved with Army exercises
because it assists with first-responder support.

“This was the first jointly-owned exercise in the KMC,” said Sergeant
Hopkins, the exercise planner for the Ramstein portion.  “The Army
was the overall planner for the exercise, but the Air Force and host
nation were right there with them because we all had input and we
tweaked the scenario to fit the individual needs of the responders.”

The exercise tested KMC crises response and ability to combine command posts to assist units responding to both locations.

“We used multiple incidents to stress the response force,” said Mr.
Ka’aihue. “The Army, Air Force and host nation agencies had to
communicate so they could divide their resources instead of sending
everyone to one location in a singular-response force.”

The exercise scenario started out about a week prior to Saturday’s
explosions at Ramstein and Landstuhl with information that extremists
were increasing anti-U.S. demonstrations within the KMC. The scenario
called for a group of these extremists to use a vehicle-borne
improvised explosive device.

Ramstein was hit first and set the stage for the Landstuhl incident.
The KMC Fire and Emergency Services responded first to an explosion at
the 38th Contingency Training Area outside Ramstein’s West Gate. The
County of Kaiserslautern firefighters were the second to respond,
bringing additional equipment and support to Ramstein’s first

The two fire departments established a combined command post at the scene.
Ramstein assembled designated groups to take command of the incident
and relay information to leaders of the 86th Airlift Wing, 435th Air
Base Wing and 38th Combat Support Wing.

The 435th Security Forces Squadron secured the scene. The County of
Kaiserslautern’s Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (German Red Cross) assisted the
435th Medical Group staff in treating the simulated wounded and
establishing a triage unit.

“It was nice to see what the Germans have in terms of equipment,” said
Staff Sgt. Robert Lockhart, 435th MDG Medical Operations Squadron
medical technician. “So, when a real-world incident occurs, we know how
the host nation can support us.”

The 435th Explosive Ordnance Disposal team conducted a sweep of the
“bomb site” to ensure that there were not any secondary explosive
devices. When all was cleared, the team headed to Landstuhl.

Minutes later while the three KMC components were responding to the Ramstein incident, a “bomb” went off at LRMC.

Naturally, the first to react was the hospital’s staff, which provided
emergency medical care and set up a triage unit to categorize the needs
of each patient.

Next, the KMC Fire and Emergency Services and the City of
Kaiserslautern firefighters put out the fire and isolated the site. The
415th BSB Provost Marshal’s Office secured the scene.

The 415th BSB and LRMC established command posts in two locations on
the installation pulling KMC resources to the incident scene and
handling a hostage situation in the hospital.

The 435th Explosive Ordnance Disposal team found a suspicious package
during a sweep of the bomb site, causing the triage unit to be moved to
ensure patients were in a safe zone from the potential blast area of
the suspicious package.

“Overall, the entire exercise really brought a lot of pieces together
all the way from the first responder to the most advanced piece of
technology that we used today,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael S. Taylor,
LRMC security NCOIC.

The City of Kaiserslautern’s DRK ambulances arrived to transport the
wounded to German hospitals. The DRK doctors and emergency medical
technicians assisted LRMC staff in stabilizing the injured for

Through it all, the Army and the Air Force command posts and first
responders, and the City and County of Kaiserslautern fire and medical
services at both locations were talking and solving the scenario’s

“This exercise is a prelude to what’s coming up,” said Sergeant
Hopkins. “We’re looking to do these exercises every year as a
requirement for both Air Force and Army. This is necessary because it
helps to fulfill a requirement to prepare our disaster response forces,
increase and emphasize communication, and test overall response plans
and procedures.”

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