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Red Team 2005 a two-day event: installation-wide exercise tests MOTCO skills with other government agencies.

Red Team 2005 was the name of the two-day installation wide terrorism exercise held at the Military Ocean Terminal, Concord, Calif., February 14-17.

The exercise scenario involved various military, civilian, county, state and federal agencies working together during an immediate terrorist crisis involving explosives, casualties and hostages.

Red Team 2005 started out like this:

While conducting distribution operations at MOTCO a report was transmitted via handheld radio into the tactical operations center located at building E85. The report from Coyote 38 stated: "A loud explosion was heard behind Pier 2 and smoke is bellowing from the building." The Tactical Operations Center called MOTCO's Fire and Police department. As a first responder, the MOTCO Fire Department immediately assessed the situation and realized they were overwhelmed with fire, explosives and mass causalities.

In accordance with their tactics, techniques and procedures, they requested local assistance. Within minutes, ambulances from American Medical Response with 12 Emergency Medical Technicians along with units from the Concord Fire Department were on the scene. The next two hours involved fire fighting, triage, treating, and evacuation of ten Department of Defense employees.

As the event progressed, three explosions were observed on Pier 2. Immediately, the commander of the 834th instructed the battalion operations officer to establish the Emergency Operation Center. The EOC serves as the battalion's nucleus for consequence management and is set up within fifteen minutes.

Meanwhile, reports are received, disseminated and actions taken to resolve events. After quickly assessing the situation, the EOC makes the following recommendations to the commander:

Cease discharge operations and evacuate all non-essential personnel from Piers 2 and 3. Upon concurrence from the commander, the executive officer coordinates the evacuation.

In parallel, the EOC then executes the following:

--Contact Travis Air Force Base Explosive Ordinance Disposal, Contra Costa County EOD, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms EOD, Contra Costa County Sheriff, Concord Fire and Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigations. The EOC advised all agencies of the situation and requested assistance.

--Inform Headquarters, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, with an initial situation report.

--Contact U.S. Coast Guard to halt commercial cargo ships and pleasure crafts traffic on the shipping channel east and west of MOTCO.

--Contact Travis Air Force Base Radar Approach Control and request restricted air space over MOTCO.

--Contact Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific Railroad to halt all rail traffic through MOTCO corridor. This is critical since AMTRAK passengers and hazardous material trains also use these lines. An ammunition explosion may destroy anything on these tracks.

Radio reports continued to flow into the TOC and EOC. While the TOC established rally points and accountability of evacuees, the EOC briefed emergency responder teams on the current status: "Three Police Officers down on Pier 2, unknown number of employees injured, and two employees attached to explosive devises with a plunger (trigger) in hand. We suspected eight to 12 terrorists in building A-21 on Pier 2."

Within forty-five minutes the EOD teams deployed to Pier 2, cleared the area and detonated an explosive device attached to a forklift. The device was detonated using a remote control ordinance robot. Next EOD personnel, in full Kevlar body armor, cleared the area leading to building A-21, defused the bombs strapped over two employees and retrieved the downed officers.

Based on the two employees debriefing, it is learned that there were at least 12 terrorists with over 15 hostages in building A-21. The EOC provided the County Sheriff and Concord Special Weapons and Tactics team with facility-diagrams, power grid and waterworks layout. At this time, over eleven different agencies from local to Federal level were integrated into the EOC.

The command structure of an Integrated Command System was in place with an on-scene commander, incident commander and operational level commander. Information and coordination from all levels flowed into the EOC so that the battalion commander can make tactical decisions. Ideally, since MOTCO is a Federal installation and the event involved terrorist activities, the FBI would assume the role as the operational commander and manage the crisis.

Upon the battalion commander's approval and agreed Rules of Engagement, the SWAT emplaced snipers on the east and west side of building A-21. The next few hours involved intensive hostage negotiations between the FBI and Travis Air Force Base negotiators and the terrorists. Additionally, the County Sheriff and Concord SWAT executed two successful rescues of additional downed police officers and wounded hostages. Based on the terrorists killing hostages and other mitigating factors, the battalion commander decided to assault A-21. All assault teams reported set and the EOC gave them "the ball." After a 20-minute gun battle, the terrorists were killed and the few remaining hostages were freed.

This two-day event tested the interoperability of military and law enforcement agencies, said Lt. Col. David McClean, 834th commander.

"It demonstrated the strengths and weakness in our ability to manage and respond to an emergency at MOTCO. Many lessons were learned: establish an ICS plan and develop a Standard Operating Procedure for execution; at the onset, establish a cell, such as an EOC, which serves as the decision maker; share communication equipment, call signs and frequencies; coordinate and communicate with all agencies and listen to the experts--then decide," said McClean, adding, "the most important accomplishment was that all agencies were brought together and successfully responded to a crisis."

Special thanks go to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command who planned and executed the exercise, and many thanks to the participants: Naval Weapons Station Federal Police; Concord Federal Police; County Sheriff's Land, Water, Air and SWAT Departments; Concord Police Department and SWAT Team; Travis AFB 60th Security Forces Interrogation Team and EOD Team; FBI Bomb Technicians; Walnut Creek Police Bomb Squad Department; Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms EOD Team; Concord, Naval Weapons Station Fire Department; County Fire Department; American Medical Response; Maritime Administration; and the United States Coast Guard.

Story and photos by Lt. Col. David R. McClean, Commander 834th Transportation Battalion
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Author:McClean, David R.
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Mar 22, 2005
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