Offutt gate (copy)

The StratCom Gate at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue.

If you hear gunfire, sirens and amplified loudspeaker voices coming from Offutt Air Force Base for the rest of the week, don't panic.

This is only a drill.

Offutt began a three-day emergency response exercise Wednesday that will generate "increased noise and activity," according to a press release from the Offutt-based 55th Wing. It said that alert vehicles will be responding to simulated emergencies.

The release said the event will be monitored and contained by exercise controllers wearing red vests. Public announcements of "EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE" will accompany the simulated gunfire. It is designed to help airmen at Offutt prepare for real-life emergencies.

The 55th Wing warned that the exercise could affect base access or cause delays.

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Apart from the exercise, a military working dog on Wednesday morning alerted the 55th Security Forces Squadron to a suspicious package in a commercial vehicle that was entering Offutt's StratCom Gate. Traffic was diverted for about an hour.

On May 31, Marine Pfc. Ali Al-Kazahg, 22, was arrested at the StratCom Gate after security forces found an arsenal that included two semi-automatic rifles, a pistol, a silencer, a bump stock, a vest with body armor and a case of ammunition in his trunk when he tried to enter the base.

Al-Kazahg, who was raised in the Omaha and Lincoln area and was on leave visiting family, is scheduled for court martial Jan. 24 on charges of carrying a concealed weapon, possessing modified firearms, making threats and fraudulent enlistment. The court martial will be at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, where he is stationed.

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