Military News

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cheyenne Mountain active shooter exercises inside the mountain

by Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault
21st Space Wing Public Affairs

10/27/2015 - CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo.  -- Members from Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station participated in an active shooter and hostage exercise along with El Paso County Sheriff's Special Weapons and Tactics Team in a mission center inside the complex.

The exercise was meant to bring the 721st Security Forces Squadron, Fire Department, 21st Medical Group and El Paso County Sheriff's SWAT team together for joint training.

First Lt. Miles Tran, 721st Communication Squadron, acted as the active shooter who left simulated victims in the hallways intending to overwhelm the medical staff into a triage situation. He ended his "spree" in a mission center with two hostages.

Once security forces personnel learned of his hide out and the hostages, the incident commander called for the help of El Paso County Sheriff's SWAT Team.

"For the team to experience response inside CMAFS in an exercise scenario will make real-world incidents that much more efficient," said Sergeant Robert Donels, El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

"It is pleasing to have a good working relationship with the military and we will strive to continue the support," he said.

Once in the complex, SWAT worked with the medical staff to evacuate the mock victims, security forces to negotiate with Tran, the active shooter turned hostage taker, and with the breeching team.

After failed negotiations with Tran, the SWAT Team decided to breech the room. The room was dark from simulating cutting off the power which also created a challenge to the team who never saw the inside of the room.

There were many moving parts during the short exercise but everyone did very well, said Master Sgt. Anthony Hunter, 721st SFS chief of training and exercises. The purpose of the exercise was to evaluate the relationship with the El Paso County and identify any possible road blocks if one of the more secure centers in the complex became compromised.

The exercise is part of a response to Post-Chattanooga guidance from the Secretary of Defense. Following the tragic shooting of U.S. military personnel in Chattanooga, Tenn. on July 16, 2015, military installations are required to review procedures to address any security challenges for real-world situations.

The partnership between El Paso County Sheriff Department and CMAFS provides increased security for all CMAFS tenants including 721st Mission Support Group personnel and North American Aerospace Defense Command's Alternate Command Center.

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