Little Rock Air Force Base has issued an explanation of what prompted yesterday’s more than four-hour security lockdown at the base. In short, it appears to have been a false alarm about a security problem. The base release:
On July 23 there was a base-wide lockdown from 11:45 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. Normal base operations have resumed.
The lockdown was enacted at approximately 11:45 a.m. when an individual on base reported to the Security Forces law enforcement desk that a suspicious individual tried to forcibly gain access to a base building. Although the base was conducting a readiness exercise at the time, the report was not part of the exercise scenario.
“We take all reports seriously and investigate them thoroughly,” said Col. Patrick Rhatigan, 19th Airlift Wing commander. “Due to this report, I implemented a lockdown and our highly trained Security Forces Airmen responded to secure our Airmen, their families and Air Force resources.”
For security purposes and to prevent future incidents, the base’s policy is to not release information concerning response tactics. To ensure due diligence of safety and security measures, and verify that no threats existed, law enforcement personnel conducted a thorough sweep of the 6,100 acre base.
After systematically investigating the report and gathering the facts base leadership and Security Forces determined that no threat existed. The report was a case of mistaken identity associated with the heightened awareness of a readiness exercise.
“The base is back to normal operations, doing our C-130 mission,” said Rhatigan. “We understand yesterday’s lockdown caused difficulties and inconveniences for our base guests. While we apologize for the unplanned disruption, I am pleased to report no injuries or damages occurred during yesterday’s lockdown.”
The report disrupted base operations. People on base were urged to stay in quarters. Entrance to the base was blocked. Planes on training flights landed at Clinton National Airport to wait out the halting of operations on base.