Subscribe
From left, bioenvironmental engineers Staff Sgt. Timothy Taylor and Senior Airman Toinette McGrew collect a sample of a white powdery substance Tuesday after a simulated accident scenario involving anthrax during Exercise Beverly Morning at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

From left, bioenvironmental engineers Staff Sgt. Timothy Taylor and Senior Airman Toinette McGrew collect a sample of a white powdery substance Tuesday after a simulated accident scenario involving anthrax during Exercise Beverly Morning at Yokota Air Base, Japan. (Corey A. Clements / Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Base emergency responders labored in bitter cold Tuesday night to neutralize the impact of a staged terrorist attack.

Under the scenario, Japanese police pursued an Asian man on foot through the fence line that intersects Yokota’s west side. But the suspect was struck by a train and flipped over the barbed wire and onto the base. Turns out, he was strapped with a backpack containing an unknown chemical substance.

“He had sores all over his body and he was deceased,” said Capt. Warren Comer, a 374th Airlift Wing spokesman, describing the simulation. “We wanted to test base response to a crisis event.”

Exercise-evaluation team members laid a mannequin in the open field near the railroad tracks to give the setting a dose of realism. It was part of the base’s weeklong Operational Readiness Exercise, scheduled to end Friday.

There were no other “casualties” in the incident but security forces, firefighters and bioenvironmental specialists were dispatched to the site after the call came into Yokota’s command center around 6 p.m.

“Response and containment. We want to limit exposure to the public and keep contamination to a minimum,” said Master Sgt. Stephen Peak, the EET representative for the 374th Security Forces Squadron. “That way, the fire department and medical personnel have a clear path, when they respond.”

The area had to be cordoned off and secured before cleanup procedures could start.

Security forces, however, were stretched thin because of another exercise-related scenario Tuesday night on the flightline, where a mock hijacking was attempted.

“We have to balance our response here with the number of forces we have available,” Peak said. “It’s a matter of prioritizing your tasks and getting the right people out here.”

While neither situation was an actual event, he said a stressful training atmosphere allows emergency responders to refine their processes and identify shortcomings.

“This keeps guys sharp and up to date,” Peak said. “It’s going to help you in the long run should you run into a real-world situation. And we can sit down and talk about it later: What did we do wrong? What did we do right? It allows us to fix any areas that might need to be addressed.”


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up