Schriever displays readiness during exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class William Tracy
  • 50th Space Wing Public Affairs

Emergency personnel responded to a simulated active shooter and explosive ordinance scenario for Opinicus Vista 18-1, a base-wide exercise which ran March 6-8.

Airmen throughout the base demonstrated their ability to respond to these emergency scenarios, as well as adapt to lockdown procedures for the wing’s largest exercise of the year.

The exercise kicked-off with a simulated active shooter scenario. Emergency responders promptly reacted to the situation, securing the area and alerting the base populace to the threat. 

“This is the first big exercise we’ve done this year,” said Capt. Joseph Villalpando, wing exercise program manager with the 50th Space Wing Inspector General’s office. “If you look at the news, there’s crazy stuff happening all the time. Having our people prepared for any kind of situation is important.”

Security forces personnel were able to neutralize the active shooter; and discovered a simulated unexploded ordinance, prompting a response from Explosive Ordinance Disposal members with the 21st Civil Engineering Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base.

The Schriever Air Force Base Fire Department and Rocky Mountain Medical personnel worked hand in hand to treat the simulated injured.

EOD combined man and technology, dressing one of their own in a protective suit while deploying a special bomb disposal robot to quickly neutralize the threat.

Tech. Sgt. Martin Howard, section chief of wing exercises with the 50th IG, and veteran of past base exercises, praised OV 18-1’s unique use of EOD resources.

Base personnel furthered this trend of readiness throughout the exercise’s duration.

The 50th IG conducted a deployment line to display the wing’s ability to mobilize its members to respond to various incidents March 8.

“We’re a military institution, so we need to be able to deploy our people on short notice if anything ever comes up,” Villalpando said.

Exercise evaluators commended the base response.

“Everyone who participated was able to meet their objectives,” Villalpando said. “Seeing overall coordination with different units was great.”

He explained base-wide exercises such as OV 18-1 provide valuable training opportunities and help strengthen bonds between units.

“During our hot wash, fire department and EOD representatives were saying how they were able to communicate very well,” Villalpando said. “For units such as Rocky Mountain Medical personnel, their leadership was telling us how helpful it (the exercise) was for them, since normally they don’t have enough people to plan out their own exercises.”

Martin and Villalpando agreed base-wide exercises help to strengthen the base and its ties to the local community and emergency responders, keeping Schriever Airmen ready for anything in uncertain times.

“We plan accordingly to meet our objectives and we do that by reaching out to the base populace,” Martin said. “By reaching out to them, we can help them meet their readiness requirements as well, and they did.”

These lessons will be carried on for the next exercise, Opinicus Vista 18-2, tentatively scheduled for June.