Real world incident validates processes for 167th’s first responders

  • Published
  • 167th Airlift Wing

An ordnance brought it to the main gate of the 167th Airlift Wing, late in the afternoon of Aug. 26, prompted a partial evacuation of the Martinsburg, W.Va. air base as well as residences and businesses near the wing’s entrance.

A local resident found the ordnance while cleaning a relative’s home.

As the wing’s established procedures dictate, local law enforcement and an explosive ordnance disposal team from Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland were notified and requested to support the response efforts.

Local law enforcement notified residents and businesses within the cordon area and closed a portion of U.S. Route 11 outside the main gate out of an abundance of caution.

The military side of the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport was also temporarily shut down.

Col. Christian Cunningham, the 167th Maintenance Group commander and director of the wing’s crisis action team during the incident said, “Human safety of personnel both inside and outside the base is of paramount concern.  In an event where the potential danger of a situation is unknown we rely on the worst case scenario to ensure maximum safety. This requires the use of a cordon to ensure a safe distance based on the type of explosive device.”

The explosive ordnance disposal team determined the ordnance was an M7A1 Bazooka training round, an inert training device used during World War II. The bazooka is a shoulder fired rocket launcher used to take out enemy tanks.

Immediately after determining the ordnance was a training round, evacuations were called off and the roadways were reopened.

“We train for scenarios just like this every 30 to 60 days,” said Senior Master Sgt. Daniel Schildt, the 167th Security Forces Squadron superintendent. “Our training assisted with the practical application.”

Schildt said the wing’s security forces and fire department worked together seamlessly to notify and evacuate personnel on base and to establish and maintain a cordon.

“We appreciate the support of the local law enforcement and cooperation from the residents and businesses impacted by this event,” said Col. David Cochran, 167th AW commander.