USS Constitution Sailors Hold Anti-Terrorism Exercise
USS Constitution Sailors conducted a multi-agency anti-terrorism training exercise on the morning of Feb. 25 in Charlestown Navy Yard.
The exercise, conducted in conjunction with the National Park Service, Massachusetts State Police, Boston Police Department and Boston Emergency Medical Services, incorporated scenarios including an active shooter, a hostage situation, mass evacuation and multiple casualties. The drill took place near Constitution’s berth in Charlestown Navy Yard and aboard Constitution itself.
“This was a scripted event designed to create a high-stress emergency environment for our crew and draw out secondary and tertiary responses from multiple external agencies,” said Cmdr. Sean Kearns, Constitution’s 73rd commanding officer. “It’s thanks to (Constitution’s) long-standing partnerships with the National Park Service, City of Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts that we can work together to further refine how we train to handle emergency situations while facilitating these inter-agency responses.”
Though considered a stand-alone event, Constitution’s drill was intended to coincide with SOLID CURTAIN-CITADEL SHIELD 2014, an annual U.S. Navy Force Protection exercise developed to enhance the training and readiness of Navy security personnel on all Navy installations in the contiguous United States and establish a learning environment for security personnel to exercise functional plans and operational capabilities.
All Constitution crew members are required to become qualified security watch standers soon after their arrival to America’s Ship of State, which made Tuesday’s training exercise an all-hands effort. Crew members played the roles of watch standers, civilians, hostages and the active shooter during the exercise, working together with external agencies to grasp a better understanding of how to effectively overcome extreme emergency situations.
“The most interesting thing about the drill was seeing how everything came together, and how the agencies worked together with (Sailors) to help bring order to the chaos,” said Seaman Adam LaMantia, a Constitution crew member and drill participant. “As more agencies became involved, the pace slowed down, even as the stakes went up. I realized how much we rely on the other agencies to help complete our mission, and how we need the other agencies to fulfill their roles as much as we must fulfill ours.”
Though Constitution Sailors only periodically run drills of such a large scale, they continue to train regularly to effectively handle any future emergency situations that may arise.
“We are only as strong as the relationships that we maintain with federal, state and local agencies and the emergency response that comes from those relationships,” said Lt. Julien Geiser, Constitution’s operations officer and drill coordinator. “This exercise allowed us not only to push our limits as individual agencies, but more importantly, it strengthened our ability to coordinate our efforts and work toward better protecting Constitution and ensuring the safety of her Sailors and all her visitors.”
USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, actively defended sea lanes against global threats from 1797 to 1855. Now a featured destination on Boston’s Freedom Trail, Constitution and her crew of U.S. Navy Sailors offer community outreach and education about the ship’s history and the importance of naval seapower to more than 500,000 visitors each year.
Press Release, February 27, 2014, 2014; Image: Wikimedia