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A member of the 302nd Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserves from Peterson Air Force Base gets ready to send off a C-130 cargo plane on a firefighting training flight as another C-130 lands in the background at the old Colorado Springs Airport on Tuesday May 18, 1999. About 300 people and eight C-130s from the 302nd Airlift Wing and three Air National Guard units from Wyoming, North Carolina and California are participating in firefighting training in the Colorado Springs area Tuesday through Friday. Jay Janner/The Gazette 5/18/99

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As if Halloween weren’t spooky enough, Peterson Air Force Base this week will train its airmen to deal with threats such as active shooters and terrorists.

Peterson warned Monday of the annual basewide exercise, a prudent move given the frightful history of similar local drills that prompted 911 calls. This drill, which runs through Friday, could tangle traffic and get noisy as Peterson tests its loudspeakers, locally dubbed the “Giant Voice.”

“The exercise could affect gate traffic, base travel as different force protection levels are exercised, security measures may be increased, the ‘Giant Voice’ may be activated,” the base said in a news release.

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The exercises are ensconced in Defense Department regulations that require troops to be ready for the worst. Similar drills are regularly held at each of the Pikes Peak region’s five military bases.

But keeping the training’s simulated strife from causing real-world trouble has been problematic during some past exercises, which alarmed passersby and triggered a few dramatic police responses.

Last fall, the Air Force Academy didn’t even need a training exercise to see widespread panic. A Nerf gun war at the academy’s preparatory school in October was reported as a mass shooting, drawing police from across the region and triggering a lengthy lockdown.

Peterson said the value of the drills outweighs the potential for trouble.

“These exercises are vital training tools that ensure our emergency response forces are able to effectively respond to unplanned crisis events,” Peterson said.

The base, adjacent to the Colorado Springs Airport, houses some of America’s most vital military command centers. The North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Northern Command, Air Force Space Command and Army Space and Missile Defense Command are among the units that call Peterson home.

And while Peterson leaders don’t want people to overreact to the drills, they’re also wary of a real incident taking place even as airmen test their mettle against a phony threat.

“As always, if you see something unusual, say something by calling 719-556-4000,” the base said.

Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240 Twitter: @xroederx

Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240

Twitter: @xroederx

Senior Military Editor

Tom Roeder is the Gazette's senior military editor. In Colorado Springs since 2003, Tom covers seven military installations in Colorado, including five in the Pikes Peak region. His main job, though, is being dad to two great kids.

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