News: Functional exercise avoided dysfunctional obstacle
Story by Lance Cpl. Samuel Ellis
QUANTICO, Va. - More than 10 area law enforcement and emergency units met Dec. 11, 2013, at Marine Corps Base Quantico to participate in a unified command functional training exercise, designed to help the base prepare to respond to a multi-jurisdictional incident.
A dozen people sat scattered around the Lejeune Hall conference room, serving as a simulation center, communicating via radio with others milling about the parking lot across the street. All of them focused on the same thing, efficiently responding to the simulated emergency.
“This exercise allowed us to partner with other jurisdictions and agencies not only Marine Corps Base Quantico assets,” said Tracy Wheeler, assistant fire chief, Marine Corps Base Quantico. “The exercise went well because we were able to operate under a unified command with our partner jurisdictions.”
Along with the base Provost Marshal’s Office and fire/ emergency services, Prince William and Stafford Counties law enforcement and emergency agencies were among those that participated in the event which simulated an active shooter/chemical attack at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
“I think this training is ultimately to maintain safety and security of the individuals aboard the installation,” said Capt. David Rainey, operations officer for Security Battalion. “It was the opportunity to bring those entities together and practice putting together the unified command concept. I think we managed to do that today.”
The training event began with the various commands working together to overcome logistical problems that arose causing an hour-long pause at one point, but the entities worked around the obstacles to accomplish the overall mission.
“We have established a pretty tight cordon,” said Rainey, describing the state of the exercise in a mock brief. “We are at the point now where we are ready to turn this over to the next echelon of support.”
As emergency vehicles left and handshakes were exchanged, Rainey shared his thoughts on the event.
“I thought the exercise was great,” said Rainey. “When you can bring everyone together you can’t beat that kind of training opportunity.”