Weapons of mass destruction exercise tests Mildenhall's teamwork with local community

An Airman simulates being killed by sarin gas during a weapon of mass destruction exercise Aug. 15 at RAF Mildenhall. The base-wide exercise tested the base's ability to respond to a WMD attack in cooperation with local British emergency services. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Clark Staehle)

An Airman simulates being killed by sarin gas during a weapon of mass destruction exercise Aug. 15 at RAF Mildenhall. The base-wide exercise tested the base's ability to respond to a WMD attack in cooperation with local British emergency services. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Clark Staehle)

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- An exercise Aug. 15 tested RAF Mildenhall's ability to interact with local civilian emergency officials in the event of a weapons of mass destruction attack. 

The exercise was a joint training effort with the England's local fire, emergency and police departments, said Master Sgt. AbuBaqr Rasool, 100th Air Refueling Wing superintendent of wing inspections. The sarin-gas scenario tested the local emergency decontamination unit and the base's ability to detect, isolate and decontaminate after a chemical attack. 

The exercise kicked off with a simulated sarin-gas attack in the Hardstand Fitness and Wellness Center. Volunteers with simulated injuries tested several agencies' abilities to respond. The "casualties" were processed through decontamination tents provided by local authorities. 

The exercise also tested the base's shelter-in-place ability. That was important because it may be evaluated during the upcoming unit-compliance inspection Oct. 16 though 24.
Shelter in place means sealing off an area in a building in response to a chemical attack. 

The test isn't the first time the base has conducted an exercise with the help of British authorities. The base also conducted a mass-casualty exercise April 11 and 12 with the help of the Ministry of Defence. 

"Overall, the exercise was very beneficial to us and the Suffolk Fire and Emergency Service," Sergeant Rasool said. "The 100th Air Refueling Wing benefited from the joint response, containment and decontamination of a possible attack."