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Sailors practice for terror attack at Mayport

Training exercise involves boat that penetrates security, crashes into ship

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MAYPORT, Fla. – Sailors responded to a terror attack Wednesday at Naval Station Mayport -- but it was only a pretend one.

A small boat simulated an attack on the USS Carney as part of a hands-on training exercise and sailors were able to practice their response to injuries, possible chemical leaks, and even simulated notifying families after the attack.

During the drill, the USS Carney simulated sinking after the terrorist attack. People injured on the flight deck had to be taken care of as quickly as possible.

Gunshots were aimed at the boat that played the role of a terrorist boat getting through security at Naval Station Mayport and crashing into a ship. Once that simulated crash happened, the sailors encountered many emergency situations.

"When you actually have it happening live, it happens quicker," said Cmdr. Edward Crossman, commanding officer of the USS Carney. "It puts more stress on the watch stander and lets you see the mistakes. It's easy to do in a walk-through, talk-through scenario. When it actually happens fast, it makes you say, 'Wow, 40 seconds happens a lot faster than I thought it did in real life.'"

Sailors had to come to the rescue quickly for those with injuries ranging from broken bones to head traumas on the flight deck. Smoke filled the inside of the ship as firefighters searched for the flames to get them put out before the ship sank.

"Especially as things heat up in the Middle East, you have to make sure people at home are taken care of and the bases are prepared to react accordingly," Crossman said.

Crossman said that Wednesday's training is routine, not a response to any specific threat. But he said training this way is the best way to find out what areas need to be improved on for everyone involved.

"It's just as important now as it has been since 9/11," Crossman said. "The threat has not changed, in terms of, it's still always there. We are constantly practicing against it, but we are evolving as the threat evolves."
 
Training situations take place at Navy bases across the country to make sure sailors are prepared for any scenarios they may face.