NAS Jacksonville runs active shooter drill

Navy prepares to be ready for dangerous scenario

By Chris Parenteau - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Thursday morning was busy with training at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

First responders, base leaders, sailors and civilians at NAS Jacksonville were all a part of an active shooter training designed to make the base as prepared as possible should something happen.

The training was modeled after real incidents that have happened at other military installations. Crews ran into a building to try to get people out as quickly as they could, determine how many shooters there were, find the shooters and then treat anyone who was injured.

The drill took place at the back entrance of the Navy Region Southeast building. Playing the role of a disgruntled former employee, a man followed a woman into the building and began shooting.

"Certainly, the Navy has seen a number of active shooter incidents in and around our facilities," said Capt. Michael Connor, executive officer of NAS Jacksonville. "So people take that to heart. We do these trainings and people take it very seriously."

Connor said the planning for this event took months, and took real events, such as the shooting in 2015 at the Washington Navy Yard, into consideration.

"One of the key areas of these drills that we do is to have a realistic drill," Connor said. "Taking real-world scenarios that have happened in the past, also being creative, to look for different avenues of attack for different possible vulnerabilities."

Just after the shooter went in, workers began filing out, trying to get to a safe area away from the building while police went in.

Installation Training Officer Jim Butters at NAS Jacksonville said they have to vary the training, knowing that some of the buildings on base would be easier to get into. 

"Some buildings are designed to, based on the security level of them, but others are not," Butters said. "Every one of them is going to be different."

As they would in a real scenario, military police escorted some of the injured out so that paramedics could come and treat them.

With the training now over, leaders will get together and debrief about how it went so that if something like this were to ever happen at NAS Jacksonville, they would be able to handle it as quickly and effectively as possible.

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.