42ºF

3 Jacksonville-area naval stations take part in security exercise

Navy installations conduct annual Exercise Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield

Navy installations across the country will be putting their training to the test.

A two-week anti-terrorism force protection exercise started Monday. All three Jacksonville-area bases -- Naval Station Mayport, Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay -- will be taking part in simulated drills.

They train like they fight. Sailors at Naval Station Mayport say they are ready for any possible attack. Every year, Exercise Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield is held across the nation to test strategies and train Navy security forces against threats to their bases.

"It's very important," said Sean Stull, leading chief of the security at Naval Station Mayport, told News4Jax on Friday. "You'd like to know where your capabilities are and how fast your teams and responses are."

Stull said the drills are not in response to any threat. He also added that local bases are not affected by President Donald Trump's order to pull troops from Syria. New strategies will be implemented into the training as a result of previous mass shootings.

"Even from a civilian standpoint, with the Vegas shooting, that after-action report, there were some elements that we can apply to what we do here to pay better attention of," said Steven Millican, installation emergency manager at Naval Station Mayport. "So, we look at all incidences worldwide to better ourselves at home."

Since Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia are a Naval tri-base region, residents may be affected by the exercise. Those who live on or near a Navy base can expect to see slowdowns at the main gate, hear simulated gunfire and see an increase in security activity for the duration of the exercise.

As part of the exercise, NAS Jacksonville will conduct an active shooter drill at the Navy Exchange on Tuesday. Temporary gate closures, sounds of simulated gunfire and an increased presence of emergency vehicles will all be part of Tuesday's drill.

Exercise coordinators have taken measures to minimize disruptions by holding most of the drills between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The exercise ends Friday, Feb. 15.