Base rehearses active shooter drill during exercise at Brewster Middle School

14 Oct 2016 | Cpl. Mark Watola Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

Base staff, emergency personnel and first responders saved lives and neutralized threats during a full-scale exercise of a simulated active shooter situation for Exercise Urgent Response at Brewster Middle School on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Oct. 5.

The exercise is held annually, but an active shooter drill was last held at Lejeune High School in 2012.

"The exercise is a way for the Provost Marshal’s Office, fire department and other emergency services and first responders to get out, come together in one full group and exercise our tactics and work together as a team and put it all together, short of the real life scenario," said Maj. Adam McKillop, Provost Marshal’s Office operations officer. "This is our way of making sure we don’t forget those basic scenario skills, coming to an unknown area, taking a look at the situation and making decisions instantly and executing those decisions."

During the exercise the school resource officer called PMO to initiate the drill. Other responders arrived on scene and special groups such as the Special Reaction Team and Explosive Ordnance Disposal worked to neutralize threats of simulated shooters and improvised explosive devices.

Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune also took part in the exercise and triaged victims and provided necessary care for the simulated victims.

"We wanted to test the ability of the emergency department to receive seriously injured casualties," said Lt. Cmdr Joseph Kotora, operational forces medical liaison and emergency medical services director. "This staff does not delineate between operation and exercise, so they treat this if it were a serious incident. Everyone moves with a purpose and there is a sense of urgency in every person who attends these, and I’m incredibly proud to be with them."

Although there was a school shooting in South Carolina recently, the base has planned for this scenario months in advance.

"Unfortunately we live in a world where things are uncertain, and we have to practice things that we don’t want to practice, or hope never happens," said Col. Nicholas Davis, Marine Corps Installations East operations officer. "But if they do happen we need to be ready."