By Michael Vernon Voss
WPNSTA Yorktown Public Affairs Officer
YORKTOWN, Va. - In the early morning hours of Wednesday, 1 Feb., an active-shooter exercise began at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown with the sound of gunshots as the active shooter hid in a building, demanding a negotiator while multiple roll-players lay injured.
The active-shooter drill held here served as part of the 2017 Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield Exercise, from 30 Jan. to 10 Feb., and tested installation and local emergency responders’ ability to establish a perimeter, provide first-aid, and coordinate the transportation of victims to local medical treatment facilities.
Designed as part of the Navy’s annual anti-terrorism, force protection (ATFP) security training, Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield is part of a larger two-part Anti-Terrorism Force Protection exercise conducted annually by U.S. Fleet Forces Command and Commander, Navy Installations Command at all CONUS Navy installations. Each year, Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield tests the Navy and civilian law enforcement's response tactics to installation threats.
While the active-shooter scenario highlights the first week of the Navy’s largest annual security exercise by allowing Navy installations to practice our mutual aid response procedures and increase their relationships with local, state and federal authorities, the second week of Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield is designed to test the Navy’s command, control and communications at all installations during nation-wide threats to its installations, units, personnel and families.
“Solid Curtain – Citadel Shield tests our emergency responders’ readiness, our communications and support agreements between the installation and 37 tenant units, and our Memorandums of Agreement and Understanding with our community emergency responders,” said WPNSTA Yorktown Commanding Officer, Capt. Paul C. Haebler.
According to Haebler, the coordination between Navy and local authorities can be crucial to the safety of the Navy’s top asset, its personnel, especially considering WPNSTA Yorktown’s more than 13,000 acres of land and employees numbering more than 3,000 personnel.
“Ensuring a coordinated mutual response between the installation and surrounding community first responders during emergency situations is the key to protecting the safety of our personnel,” said Haebler.
WPNSTA Yorktown Training Manager Cathy M’Cleod, suggest that while support agreements put pen to paper, the benefits of holding Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield with local first responders ensure the communication and process of emergency response works.
“WPNSTA Yorktown and local first responder organizations, like the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s office, have mutual aid agreements that were built through a long history of working together,” said M’Cleod. “But, behind those mutual aid agreements are years of communication and exercises. A real-world incident is not the time to practice. The need for coordination early in an incident response is crucial and the exact reason we conduct exercises like Solid Curtain- Citadel Shield.”