MCLB-Albany tests anti-terrorism response

MCLB-ALBANY -- On Thursday morning, two disgruntled Marines shot nine victims and took refuge in an abandoned house while Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany's police department instituted negotiations with the suspects.

This was the scene aboard the installation as part of the full-scale anti-terrorism exercises conducted on the base.

Max Seneff, project manager for the Headquarters Marine Corps Exercise Support Team, played one of the shooters.

"We are testing the response of the installation," he said. "We are preparing the base for an all-hazards approach."

While it has always been possible for shootouts to occur, the situation at Fort Hood last year gave a new sense of perspective to violent acts occurring on military ground.

"That's the reality," said Tierney Davis, analyst for the Headquarters Exercise Support Team and the second shooter in the terrorism scenario. "Obviously, it's not impossible."

On Nov. 5, a shooting took place at Fort Hood, located outside Killeen, Texas. The accused perpetrator is Nidal Malik Hasan, a major in the Army serving as a psychiatrist. Thirteen were killed and 30 were wounded as a result of the incident.

The purpose of the drill conducted on the Albany Marine base was to enable key departments, commands, agencies and personnel on the installation to demonstrate a multi-agency response to a terrorist event. It allowed for evaluation of the overall decision-making process for a response operation, with the focus on the emergency operations center.

The gunmen scenario was one of several conducted Wednesday and Thursday as part of the testing process.

"This is a full-scale exercise," said Marine Corps Deputy Police Chief Sean Lamonzs. "It's everyone's opportunity to utilize resources."

Participants had the opportunity during the testing to gain an understanding of issues and challenges they may face in a real-world incident. Some of those involved included the base's emergency operations center, police department, fire department, emergency medical services and the Branch Medical Clinic.

Exercises such as the ones conducted earlier in the week are not the only chances personnel at the base have to prepare for the worst.

"Training is continual," Lamonzs said.

Everyone in and around the base felt the presence of increased emergency personnel traffic during the week as a result of the exercises. A 100 percent identification card check was in effect for the base, which in turn caused traffic delays at the installation's entrances. Temporary gate closures also occurred throughout the day Thursday.