Training Tests Camp Lemonnier First Responders

Story Number: NNS100526-15Release Date: 5/26/2010 5:20:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Marc Rockwell-Pate, Camp Lemonnier Public Affairs

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (NNS) -- More than 100 service members deployed to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti (CLDJ), as well as nearly 40 local Djiboutian employees participated in an exercise May 5-6 designed to gauge their response to a suicide bomb threat.

According to Marc Franklin, the emergency management director at CLDJ, the exercise served two functions.

"These drills have both strategic and tactical purposes," said Franklin. "Strategically these exercises are to ensure the force protection and anti-terrorism readiness of the whole installation. Tactically, specifically, these exercises deal with personnel carrying an improvised explosive device (IED)."

During the two-day exercise, Sailors from the camp's security department and Explosive Ordinance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 1, Soldiers from Puerto Rico's 1/65th Army National Guard Unit and Djiboutian security guards were put through a series of live exercises with almost no warning.

"We try to make these drills as real as possible," said Franklin. "There are [safety measures] in places to make sure nothing happens to the people role-playing, but we're trying not to tip off the responders either."

Along with on-scene safety observers, Franklin and other members of the training team briefed each unit's supervisor prior to performing the exercises. In each scenario, a member of the training team had a counterfeit IED made of d-cell batteries and a fake claymore explosive. The member tried to access the camp's identification verification point. During each drill, the member was discovered, apprehended, and placed at a safe distance from personnel while the camp's EOD unit responded to the scene.

Once on location, EOD personnel deployed a small robot unit to closely examine the suspected bomber as well as gather information about the fake IED.

"We try to use the Talon's tools to get diagnostics on the improvised explosive device in order to render it safe," said Explosive Ordinance Disposal 1st Class (EWS/FPJ) Jack Davis, a member of EODMU 1.

After disposing of the fake IED, that portion of the drill concluded with members of the training team debriefing first responders and their supervisors.

"Everyone who participated did well today," said Franklin. "They responded quickly, with correct procedures, and effectively neutralized what would have been a very dangerous situation."

Camp Lemonnier provides, operates and maintains superior service to meet the needs of regional tenant commands, and facilitate operations in the Horn of Africa, while promoting positive relations between the United States and African nations.

For more news from Camp Lemonnier Djibouti, visit

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