Garrison, emergency responders tested at ‘Stallion Shake 2018’

Story by Bardia Khajenoori, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs
Photos by Larry Reilly and Bardia Khajenoori, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

A simulated release of chemicals on Kelley Barracks led to a major response by real-life emergency responders as U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart held its annual full scale force protection exercise from June 20-21.

The incident scene at Kelley Barracks in the midst of the rescue operation. Photo by Larry Reilly.

The exercise, known as “Stallion Shake,” involved garrison emergency services working in close coordination with the equivalent host nation agencies. The scale of the event and subsequent need to involve non-garrison players is what makes Stallion Shake so unique, according to Robert Daul, USAG Stuttgart Emergency Manager.

“During our planning process, our garrison works closely with our host nation partners to produce an exercise that is not only productive, but challenging for them as well,” said Daul.

“This year was more complicated in that we utilized all installations over a longer period of time, focusing not only on the after-effects of a response exercise, but also exercising our plans for recovery.”

Volunteers played the roles of victims, receiving makeup to look wounded and guidance on which symptoms to reflect. After being “exposed” to the chemicals inside the Kelley Club, victims were rescued by hazardous material response teams from the City of Stuttgart’s fire department. However, instead of then being sent to local hospitals as victims normally would, the volunteers were shuttled to the Emergency Family Assistance Center (EFAC) on Panzer Kaserne for new roles as community members affected by the incident in non-medical ways. The EFAC, housed in Army Community Service, helped address issues such as finding missing family members and arranging emergency childcare.

Sgt. Colin Joshua, a volunteer participating in the exercise, speaks with Jamie Ruffini of USAG Stuttgart Child and Youth Services about arranging emergency childcare following the simulated incident. Photo by Bardia Khajenoori.

Finally, after clearing the EFAC, the participants were moved to a makeshift shelter for displaced persons at the Panzer Fitness Center.

“Being able to participate in this exercise really helped my understanding of what would actually happen in an emergency,” said Aidan Wright, a 12th grader at Stuttgart High School and president of the American Red Cross Youth Club.

“Everyone involved was incredibly patient and understanding, making sure that those affected felt comfortable.”