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Camp Humphreys--: first responders train up!

The MP at Camp Humphreys, Korea, received a 911 call from the airfield. The air traffic controller reported that a Cessna airplane had taken off--without permission--from Osan Air Force Base, just 15 to 20 miles north of the installation. The controller reported in again. The Cessna was in Humphreys' air space without proper authorization and appeared headed for the main post. The controller said, "I've just received a radio transmission from someone in the plane. They said, `I have power and control.'"

The MP desk sergeant notified the first responders who then repositioned at the airfield. The controller said that the aircraft was approaching from the west--well left of the runway. Eight minutes later, the controller reported that the Cessna had crashed into one of the post's clubs, the Nightwatch II Cafe The controller could see fire and smoke coming from the club area.

Within minutes, the first responders established a security perimeter. The initial assessment indicated that there were massive casualties. Emergency personnel implemented response plans and began evacuating the injured. The 19th MP Battalion, 6th MP Group, Resident Agency CID agents began to investigate this apparent terrorist attack immediately.

Luckily, on this day, the first responders were only conducting a mass-destruction-incidents exercise that was prompted by the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. The first responders who took part were--

* Fire department personnel.

* MP.

* Medical-aid specialists.

* CID special agents.

Because it is impossible to train for every potential emergency, the first responders have trained on a variety of scenarios, including--

* Bomb threats and explosions.

* Chemical and biological attacks.

* Weapons of mass destruction incidents.

The first responders have also learned how to analyze suspicious packages.

The following could be potential problems when handling packages:

* Discolored, oil-stained, or crystallized wrapper.

* Excessive tape, string, or postage.

* Strange odors.

* Odd shape with protruding wires or aluminum foil.

* Some powder or powder-like residue.

* Unusual size or weight, given size.

* A postmark not matching return address or no return address.

* An address of someone who no longer works in the organization.

* A handwritten, block-printed, or poorly typed address.

* A person's title or an incorrect title, but no name.

* Some common words misspelled.

* A restrictive endorsement, such as "personal" or "confidential."

Another useful tool the first responders have been trained to use is the DOD biological sampling kit. The kit helps scene commanders determine if further testing is needed.

Each training event has provided invaluable lessons. Most importantly, the training has emphasized the roles and clear lines of responsibility during such incidents, such as--

* Firefighters taking care of on-scene detection and sampling.

* CID transporting samples.

* MP providing security and crowd control.

* Explosive ordnance disposal managing explosive rule-out and initial site reconnaissance.

* Medical personnel providing on-scene patient care, clinic follow-up, and disease surveillance.

Terrorists have tactical surprise on their side. They can choose when, where, and how to strike. Being prepared through the type of extensive training we offer is the best way to save lives.

Marty J. Smith is a chief warrant officer 3 with the CID Resident Agency. Camp Humphreys, Korea. He is currently studying criminal justice administration through Columbia Southern University, Orange Beach, Alabama.
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Article Details
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Author:Smith, Marty J.
Publication:Military Police
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2002
Words:520
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