Joint Base Andrews on lockdown over reports of rockets, explosions in sky

Andrews Air Force Base
040514-N-0295M-005 Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (May 14, 2004) – An aerial view of Andrews Air Force Base flight line during the first day of the 2004 Joint Service Open House. The Open House, held on May 14-16th, showcased civilian and military aircraft from the Nation’s armed forces which provided many flight demonstrations and static displays. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Daniel J. McLain (RELEASED)
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JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. — Joint Base Andrews is back under security lockdown tonight, following numerous unconfirmed reports of rockets and explosions in the sky throughout the National Capital Region.

No casualties have yet been confirmed, but Security Forces are treating the reports as serious, and have begun rerouting air traffic to other local airbases until the security lockdown is lifted.

According to a Base Security Forces spokesman, the first calls came in shortly after sundown, with callers reporting “loud explosions” just outside the base. Not long after, more calls began pouring in from base DoD civilians, claiming to see “brilliant flashes of light in the sky.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” says an unidentified caller on a 911 recording. “The explosions just keep coming — all different colors, different sizes.”

The lockdown has put a halt to the base’s annual Fourth of July festivities while Security Forces investigate and respond to the crisis. Base personnel have been given the order to shelter in place, and stay away from doors and windows until the all-clear is given.

The base’s scheduled fireworks show has been tentatively cancelled, until the source of the explosions can be determined.

“I’ve been overseas — it’s definitely the sound of a rocket attack,” said Airman First Class Steve Jenkins.

“I never thought, after all I’d fought for behind a desk in Kabul, that I’d be curled up under a desk in Maryland. And on the Fourth of July, of all days.”

Joint Base Andrews, home of Air Force One, was previously locked down Thursday due to reports of an active shooter during an active shooter response exercise.

This lockdown makes the third such response this week, after reports of a possible gas attack yesterday were determined to be the smell of an unflushed toilet at the Freedom Hall Dining Facility.

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