This story has been updated: Joint Base Andrews in Maryland has given the all-clear after a man approached the main gate on Friday and falsely told guards he had a bomb in his car.
“Following procedure, base security forces personnel shut down the main gate and cleared the area of all personnel,” Zack Baddorf, a spokesman for the 316th Wing at Andrews, said late Friday. “The individual was taken into custody and was questioned by base security forces and partner law enforcement agencies.”
The man, a civilian with no military affiliation, arrived around 4:45 p.m. Friday. Live news video of the scene showed a sedan parked outside the main gate, where an explosive ordnance disposal airman wearing a protective suit checked the car alongside a bomb-inspection robot. Bomb-sniffing military dogs also swept the vehicle.
The team did not find any explosives in the car, Baddorf said.
“Following procedure, base security forces personnel had shut down the main gate and cleared the area of all personnel,” he added. “Partner law enforcement agencies responded to assist with the incident and shut down traffic outside the main gate.”
The main gate has reopened, and the situation did not affect the rest of the base.
“Our first responders responded exceptionally well to today’s incident. I am very proud of their efforts to resolve the situation and to keep our base safe and secure,” Col. Tyler Schaff, commander of Joint Base Andrews and the 316th Wing, said in a release. “I’m also thankful for the exemplary support that we received from our off-base partners, including federal law enforcement.”
The Air Force Office of Special Investigations and security forces at Andrews are looking into the incident.
Cascading series of security failures allowed man to wander JBA for five hours, enter transport jet, IG report finds
While the aircraft used to ferry the president was never in danger, the incident pointed out several flaws in base security, the 22-page, heavily redacted report showed.
This is the third gate security incident that the key Washington-area installation has dealt with since the beginning of February.
Andrews hosts the 89th Airlift Wing, an elite Air Mobility Command wing that flies VIPs around the world, and is the home base for the VC-25A fleet that becomes Air Force One when the president is aboard.
The 316th Wing, 113th Wing, 459th Air Refueling Wing, Air National Guard Readiness Center and Naval Air Facility Washington are located there as well.
On Feb. 4, an unarmed homeless man sporting a cap resembling mouse ears arrived at the base, drove around for five hours, and boarded a C-40 transport jet used to ferry distinguished passengers. The intruder, 36-year-old Joseph Armstrong, was arrested for roaming the flight line without authorization.
A service inquiry found that the guard on duty let Armstrong in without properly checking his credentials because he was distracted by issues in his home life. The man was also able to enter the flight line through a malfunctioning gate left open.
“There is no evidence to suggest that he intended to breach the installation,” a Joint Base Andrews spokesperson said.
The Air Force does not believe that Armstrong intended to hurt anyone or posed a threat to the jet that serves as Air Force One. But the breach spurred a global investigation into the service’s base security — the second such deep dive since 2017.
Despite the increased scrutiny, a unnamed 29-year-old man was arrested March 6 after repeatedly ramming a Ford F-150 truck into a swing arm barrier at the base’s main entrance. Security forces airmen detained the man, who appeared to be under the influence of an illegal substance, an Andrews spokesperson said.
“There is no evidence to suggest that he intended to breach the installation,” the spokesperson said.