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Strategic Management Annex

Active shooter exercise tests base’s response

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Airmen from the 81st Training Wing experienced an active shooter exercise here Sept. 22.

The exercise was designed to simulate the chaotic nature of a disgruntled person entering a facility on base and opening fire. 

“For the exercise we wanted to test the base’s ability to respond to an active shooter,” said William Mays, 81st Training Wing Inspector General wing inspection team manager. “The base went into lockdown and we had 81st Security Forces Squadron, 81st Medical Group and Keesler Fire Department Airmen respond to secure the situation and ensure the safety of everyone involved.”

The actor, portraying an active shooter in this exercise, entered the Arnold Medical Annex and began firing shots with the intent to kill. The shooter killed one person and injured multiple others in this simulation at the Arnold Medical Annex. The shooter then moved to the Larcher Chapel, where she took multiple hostages and barricaded herself in a room.

Airmen from the 81st SFS responded quickly to each incident and worked together to clear rooms and isolate where the shooter was.

“I was confident in my training and knew I was ready to execute,” said Staff Sgt. Scott Kaltenbronn, 81st SFS reports and analysis NCO in charge. “The responding force was able to stay calm and collected in order to eliminate the threat.”

Base exercises teach Keesler personnel to expect the unexpected. This type of exercise showed people exactly how dangerous and unpredictable this type of situation can be, said Kaltenbronn.

“At any minute, on any day, things could be radically different and that’s why it’s so important to be ready for whatever happens,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Mark Williams, 81st TRW chaplain.

The 81st TRW IG team stressed that knowing how to react to situations like active shooters is crucial for all members on base.

“Stay out of the way, run and hide if an active shooter actually does happen,” said Mays. “Stay out of the way and let security forces do what security forces does.”