SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
During a Honduran and American Anti-terrorism/Force protection exercise, here, Joint Task Force-Bravo simulated a two- fold scenario simultaneously, one a nonviolent demonstration and the other being an attack from a terrorist organization July 17.
The exercise was conducted to ensure personnel readiness, exercise the incident command system, implement the augmentee program and properly manage the emergency operations center.
The ATFP started with a protest at the gate, with U.S. service members, acting like Honduran protesters carrying anti-American signs.
"During the nonviolent protest there was an explosion at the front gate, which was mastermind by a local terrorist organization," said U.S. Army Lt. Chad Wallway, Joint Security Force deputy commander. "This caused a mass casualty situation and the Hondurans responded almost immediately. During this diversionary tactic a secondary attacked was implemented, which was directed toward the aircraft on the flight."
Once the bomb exploded the base raised its force protection condition and immediately contacted Col. Thomas Boccardi, JTF-Bravo commander, and he activated the emergency operation center.
The EOC is the central command and control facility responsible for carrying out emergency and disaster management functions at a strategic level.
"During the most hectic part of the exercise, everyone took a step back and both Honduran and U.S. Forces began working together, said Wallway. "This was a partnership exercise, which included Army, Air Force and the Navy and we were able to integrate the Honduran security, medical and quick reaction force."
"The communication came down correctly to get JSF distributed and more than 20 officers plus augmentees, from various organizations on base came together," he added.
The augmentees have to complete an eight-week training course before being certified to be part of team.
"The U.S. military practices for real world events," said Lt. Col Frank Melgarejo, JTF-Bravo Operations director. "No one knows when a situation will get out of hand or a terrorist attack will occur and it's training like this, which allows us to observe our readiness and evaluate our process. Due to today's exercise I can see that everyone knows how to do their job properly and professionally. There is always a learning curb, but at the end of the day, the base is secure and the attack on the airfield was averted."