By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Making each Condor Crest exercise unique provides a challenge for the exercise evaluation team. Active shooters, bomb threats and evacuations are commonplace during the quarterly exercises, but regularly running the same scenario can create a sense of complacency among players.
To mix up these scenarios and make everyone think about their role, Master Sgt. Sean Kelly, EET director, said the planning of the most recent Condor Crest, which ran June 12-15, involved changing some of the players in the exercise.
There was still an active shooter scenario, but to make the scenario different the exercise was held in Building 350. “Everybody does their own internal procedures for an active shooter, but (we wanted to test) it in Building 350, which is a very big building,” Kelly said.
Not only is the building large, but there are also a number of family members and retirees who visit different customer service agencies daily and are required to play in the exercise for 30 minutes. Kelly said employees in the building had to demonstrate not only that they knew what they had to do for their job, but that they could also direct customers to the appropriate safe location and explain what was going on.
To further test the abilities of the responders, a bomb threat and evacuation were held at the same time as the active shooter. “Security forces had to decide which one had priority,” Kelly said.
There were a few surprises thrown in the exercise plan. In the past, scenarios have typically been held during regular working hours. During this exercise, more scenarios were held in the evening to give a different group of people a chance to respond. “We had a lot of complaints before about not running exercises into the night for people who work the overnight shifts. We ran exercises for them and they really enjoyed the challenge,” Kelly said.
One of these challenges included a middle of the night attack on the north side of the base. “It consisted of about 12 Schriever (Air Force Base) security forces members attacking the north end of the base. They were intercepted by 10-12 Peterson (security forces members),” Kelly said.
While members of the 21st Security Forces Squadron were evaluated on the scenario, the real purpose was to see how the Crisis Action Team and Emergency Operations Center would come together during off-duty hours.
The exercise also included a deployment scenario on the last two days. “We did all your chemical warfare training out in the north end (of Peterson AFB) with about 104 deployers. On Friday, we did the same kind of training, but they did more challenging weapons firings and weapon break downs,” Kelly said.
The purpose of the exercise is to emphasize the importance of being prepared for anything at anytime, Kelly said. “During exercise week everyone is supicious. But in the weeks that follow leading up to the next Condor Crest, you should be thinking about security, about risk management, about your office,” he said. “The exercises are designed for you to think of how to protect yourself.”