Story and photo by MC2 Michael Doan, PAO, NAF Atsugi
All is quiet in dispatch. The radio checks are made with calm voices as the Master-at-Arms make their rounds.
The phone rings.
The phone rings again.
Before the operator can get a single word out, the voice of a distressed person can be heard over the phone. The news quickly gets out to the first responders that someone has been taken hostage. Arriving at the scene, they enter the building and see a suspect on the other side of the room holding aknife while yelling at the responders to stay back.
Responders overpower the suspect’s voice with their own and give him commands to follow. The suspect charges the responders... Thankfully it was a drill, this time.
Certain scenarios to make sure that our training is adequate,” said Clearwater, Fla., native Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Joel Friend, Anti-Terrorism Training Team member. “They need to be at a certain level and drills are a way for us to evaluate that level. If we need to work somewhere, we do training, so that in a real world scenario we are not failing.”
Taking a realistic approach to situations that others have already experienced is a great tool for learning from the successes and failures of those who have already responded. “We have to be up to par with living in the world we are in,” said Friend. “Enough bad stuff happens in the When the drill ends, first responders, members of the Anti-Terrorism Training Team (ATT), and even the suspect, sit down to listen to a debriefing. Their shared views point out what went well in the drill and the areas where an improvement could be made.
Sailors attached to Atsugi’s Naval Security Forces conduct drills as a means of training personnel to react to any situation on base, as well as any external threat that may present itself. “We do drills to evaluate our guys on how they are going to respond to world that we can pull from that,” said Everett, Wash., native Master-at-Arms 1st Class Eric Kennedy, a member of the ATT and a drill package writer. “We use it to figure out how it was responded to and see where we can improve upon it.”
For some it could be the first time doing drills on a certain situation and being able to determine where the responders’ training takes control in an unfamiliar environment or situation could lead to the discovery of an area where things could be improved upon. It is hard to plan for every contingency but having a partner when responding to a crisis is another safe back up. “Everybody is different and has a point where their mind might shut down,” said Kennedy. “So, we all get that baseline and repetitive training.
Our partners are trained to take over, regardless of rank. We want to increase survivability, efficiency, and be a better cohesive unit.” Next time the phone rings and security answers the call, the countless hours of training and preparation for a real world incident will make those responding more confident and may just end up saving the lives of those in danger.