By MC1 Michael Wiss and Lt.j.g. John Rosa
NPASE Detachment Southeast and ATG Mayport
The Naval Station Mayport personnel put their force protection and antiterrorism skills to the test during the Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield (SC/CS 14) 2014 exercise Feb. 20-28.
SC/CS 14 is a Force Protection exercise conducted by Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF) and Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) on all Navy installations in the Continental United States to enhance the training and readiness of
Navy security personnel as well as establish a learning environment for security personnel to exercise functional plans and operational capabilities.
According to Naval Station Mayport Antiterrorism and Deputy Security Officer Ronald Novak, this exercise showcases the Mayport team working with other tenant commands and civilian agencies in the event of a crisis situation.
"We have to train our folks to be prepared for any crisis situation on short notice," he said. "We need to be able to work with other tenant commands, ships and other agencies to be on the lookout for terrorist activity. We take every threat seriously, with other situations that have happened in the world, you have to be ready because you can never tell where the threat might come from."
Citadel Shield is an installation-level training exercise to test the ability of naval security forces during an emergency.
The Citadel Shield of the Mayport exercise involved an active shooter who killed and injured several personnel and held three people hostage. The Mayport NCIS team used negotiation tactics to be able to overtake the assailant and defuse the situation.
Solid Curtain is an exercise focused on command, control, and communication (C3) between all echelons Navy wide.
The Solid Curtain portion involved a small boat attack on USS Vicksburg (CG-69) homeproted at Naval Station Mayport. The attack was much like that of USS Cole (DDG-67) bombing which killed 17 Sailors and injured 39 others on October 12, 2000.
According to USS Vicksburg Operations Officer Lt Matthew Hamm, the exercise was a great opportunity to test the readiness of the ship's security team.
"This drill is an excellent opportunity to test our own organization, but also working with the base security department as well as with agencies off the base," he said. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a single ship to execute a real world situation, and how to respond to a casualty that we don't see or train for every day."
Afloat Training Group Mayport supported Solid Curtain/Citadel Shield. ATG Mayport provided small craft OPFOR support, while conducting Basic Phase Training for USS Vicksburg. ATG Mayport trained the ship in Damage Control and Medical Training in a multi-faceted environment. These training opportunities are rare and not normally integrated within the Afloat Training organization.
"This was a rare opportunity to see the integration ATG Mayport and base medical working closely to support a mission," said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/FMF) Robert Bicanovsky, Afloat Training Group Mayport's Medical Lead. "I believe there were multiple lessons learned in patient tracking, patient movement and triage in a multi-casualty scenario. These events will only improve our training and ultimately improve the ships response to real world events."
"Damage Control training was detailed and integrated throughout the scenario," added Chief Damage Controlman (SW) Shimran Ali, Afloat Training Group Mayport's Damage Control Lead. "During the drills we were able to train in all aspects of firefighting, flooding and quick actions responses. Being able to utilize recharging stations on the pier and base services in conjunction with continued shipboard firefighting efforts was a unique training environment."
Training is an important element of the readiness area of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative which consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Department.
According to Novak, year round training keeps everyone working together as a team to help counter any crisis situation.
"We have to perform continuous training because the players change with Navy turnover," he said. "The best thing we get out of this is to critique what we did right and what we did wrong. Hopefully we can continue to improve readiness and learn what needs to be done to handle any crisis situation."