Vienna air base trains for active shooter situation

VIENNA – The 910th Airlift Wing spent Tuesday training for the possibility of shootings at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

The Wing Inspection Team (WIT) commenced the exercise early with the base’s mass notification program and kept details of the scenario secret so base members could not prepare their response.

“We don’t want people prepping for the exercise,” said U.S. Air Force Reserve Capt. Adam Schubel, a pilot with the 773rd Airlift Squadron and deputy inspection planner for the 910th Airlift Wing. “We want it to be as real as possible.”

The next stage in the exercise was a simulation of the active shooter in the headquarters building, where a masked gunman moved from room to room with a bright orange training rifle. WIT inspectors, identified by bright safety vests, watched and noted the responses of base personnel.

The base underwent a total lockdown and was elevated to Force Protection Level Delta as first responders stepped into action. A 910th Security Forces Squadron fire team swept the headquarters, eventually exchanging simulated fire to neutralize the shooter.

“When we respond to incidents like an active shooter situation, we know that people we call friends and comrades could be injured or deceased, and that is a tough pill to swallow,” said John Lewis, II, YARS fire emergency services chief. “That is the prime reason we participate in the response exercises. It prepares us for this type of incident and we revel in the opportunities to support and take care of the folks on this installation.”

Other steps in the exercise included triage stations to take care of the faux wounds of several personnel and setting up an Emergency Operations Center to work through response processes and checklists.

Once all base personnel were accounted for, the exercise was ended. WIT spent the rest of the week analyzing the bases’ response to the exercise to find areas that need correction.