NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Shots rang out! Naval Station Rota's command master chief limped out of the installation's air passenger terminal flailing her arms and yelling for help. Unfortunately, she was just one of many.
That was the scene during the Operational Readiness Assessment held aboard Naval Station Rota June 6 and 7, 2017.
The exercise tested Rota's Security Department, incident management team and emergency operations center as they responded to a simulated active shooter.
Two of the Sailors who responded to the emergency approached the terminal building cautiously and ready to encounter whatever they were about to walk into.
The piercing screams of the simulated victims echoed through the terminal as the responding Sailors, armed with an M-9 service pistol an M-4 service rifle loaded with blank ammunition and ultimate training munitions barrels, bolts and lasers, searched the area. They kept calm through the pulsating shrills and continued on through a hallway until they neutralized the suspect.
"Everyone involved in this drill gets a lot of kudos from me," said Capt. Philip Old, EURAFSWA operations officer. "This base should be proud how well this exercise went. Rota definitely knows how to train and assess their response forces."
Bodies of the actors playing dead or critically injured were inspected after the suspect was "shot down" and handcuffed. While members of the Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia (EURAFSWA) training team evaluated the entire performance.
"It was a little bit nerve-racking knowing that you're going to have higher headquarters looking at you but I don't think that that was the aspect that really got my blood pumping," said Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Natalie Hasbrouck, one of the first Sailors on scene. "It was when the shots were actually fired at you. Even though they're blanks, you don't want to get shot. I can deal with the screaming people but when the shots start getting fired and you know you can potentially go down, that's what got me going."
Hasbrouck said the best part about the training drill was when she was able to proceed towards the threat to corner the individual and handcuff him.
"There's always going to be some learning aspects of it and some key take-back points," said Master-at-Arms 1st Class Thomas Quartaro, the anti-terrorism training team coordinator, "but this is all in preparation for our final evaluation problem so we definitely got some valuable learning items from it. Region is also seeing that we're capable of doing this on our own and hopefully they have nothing but high praises for us."
Members of the training teams gathered the next day to assess the exercise on what parts went well and what can be further improved. The overall energy towards the exercise was positive with everyone satisfied and confident that Naval Station Rota is ready and capable.
"Our Security personnel and emergency management team did a great job during this exercise," said Capt. Michael MacNicholl, Naval Station Rota's commanding officer. "It's not about just going from exercise to exercise though. It's about being ready because the security and safety of our community is at the core of what we do."
The ORA also included a tabletop exercise (TTX) to discuss the installation's electrical contingency plan in the event of a major utilities failure. During the TTX, installation department representatives had to figure out how to maintain mission essential capabilities during a power failure to the main power plant.
Naval Station Rota enables and supports operations of U.S. and allied forces and provides quality services in support of the fleet, fighter, and family for CNIC in Navy Region EURAFSWA.
Just as ship performs lines of operations, which provide a capability, Navy Region EURAFSWA bases perform the same eight lines of operation to provide capability to the fleet and joint and allied forces. These eight lines of operation are air operations, port operations, safety, security, Morales, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), Fleet and Family Services and what is called the core - the fuels, water and power that keep the bases running. Through the lines of operation, installations are force multipliers, which maximize the combat capability of operational units.
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For more news from Naval Station Rota, Spain, visit www.navy.mil/local/rota/.