Naval Station Great Lakes (NSGL) completed an active shooter drill in headquarters Bldg. 1, one of the many sequences of exercise Solid Curtain - Citadel Shield Feb. 27. The drill’s purpose was to evaluate response time and reaction of occupants and security forces.
The drill included classroom trainings followed by an active shooter scenario.
“This is not only about staying alive in the event of an active shooter scenario, it’s also about personal responsibility,” said NSGL Training Officer Randy Carman, the Installation Training Team Exercise Coordinator for the drill. “It’s also about controlling the threat.”
The scenario included two participants firing off blanks in the building, producing life-like gunshot sounds. They proceeded to all of the rooms in the building to carry out their goals.
Naval Security Force (NSF) Training Officer Robert Cayet and MA1 Brent Christensen were the shooters.
“The goal of the drill is to escape.” said Cayet walking quickly from door to door. “If you can’t escape, barricade doors and hide. If you can’t find a way to any of those, plan your next move that will keep you safe.”
Several NSF departments were involved.
“The gate guards performed procedures to operate and secure our entry control points. Patrol officers responded to the scene. Firstly, they are responsible for eliminating the threat and then go through the building to clear it and set up a perimeter. Finally, they perform crime scene preservation duties to keep the evidence safe for investigators,” said Carman.
Navy Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Auxiliary Security Force (ASF) and local law enforcement were involved in the drill.
Carman said, “NCIS responded and was part of the initial contact team. They entered the building with patrol officers and eliminated the two active shooters. Then, they worked with ASF and law enforcement to clear the building and preserve the scene.”
The coordination between the departments was executed professionally.
“The tactical coordination between NCIS, NSF, ASF and local law enforcement was outstanding,” said Carman.
In coordination with the exercise, Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) assisted the drill in utilizing a mass notification system for displays around the base and in barracks.
“MWR helped out greatly,” said Carman. “They mass-notified people using displays they have set up in barracks and at Pier 525. It let everyone know the situation and gave force protection conditions as the scenario progressed.”
Mass notifications were sent out to NSGL via computer pop-up notifications through the Emergency Operations Center.
“These notifications informed anyone using their computers of the situation at hand,” said Carman. “Mass notification is crucial to executing a successful drill or real-life scenario.”
Carman was an instructor in Bldg. 617 Service School Command, when Seaman Ameen Mohammed began opening fire at instructors Sept. 15, 1986.
“I never imagined something like that would ever happen,” said Carman. “We didn’t have any coordinated drills to prepare us in the event of an active shooter.”
Jeanne Kalinoski, paralegal specialist for Region Legal Services, remembers the 1986 tragedy.
“I remember it being a normal morning,” said Kalinoski. “Then, all of sudden the hospital became chaotic. It was very frightening because they started bringing the dead and injured.”
Amidst the chaos, Kalinoski was approached by an NCIS agent who asked her to transcribe his notes. She was asked about her typing ability and if she could type them quickly. She obliged.
“It was very exciting for me because I felt important for helping NCIS. I was a little nervous,” said Kalinoski, “but, I stayed focused because I knew how important these notes were to the agents and for legal procedures.”
Real-life drills like these help service members and civilians know what to do and how to execute with precision.
“The active shooter training helps,” said Kalinoski. “We can now notice the warning signs in someone who has the potential of becoming an active shooter, and what to do in the event a shooting occurs, has improved since that day in 1986.”