Force protection exercise puts Depot to the test
By Cpl. Matt Preston
| | August 09, 2002
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT/EASTERN RECRUITING REGION PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- --
To many aboard the depot, the war on terrorism is something they see on CNN, but depot personnel got their chance Aig. 6 and Aug. 7 to find out how they'd react to an attack.
The depot conducted its Anti-Terrorism Force Protection Exercise for 2002 to test its readiness against several levels of terrorist threats.
"The purpose of the exercise is to do and internal evaluation of security and force protection measures," said Capt. J.P. Brandt, depot force protection officer. "[It's] to test our Emergency Response facilities and their capability to respond to real or perceived crises."
Depot emergency services, medical personnel and the Provost Marshal's Office were kept on heightened alert during the exercise.
One of the biggest events during the exercise was the treatment of mass casualties on the Peatross Parade Deck. Depot emergency medical technicians and corpsmen were greeted to a gruesome scene, complete with role-playing casualties. For added realism, gallons of fake blood and raw meat were sprayed around the simulated attack site. The role players themselves wore prosthetics with specific types of injuries. The goal of the medical personnel was to properly diagnose and treat the casualty.
Role players had more to do than lay down and play dead. They were also used in the exercise to simulate how people both on and off the depot would react to a real threat. Simulated concerned parents e-mailed and called company commanders with questions concerning the safety of the recruits. One parent told a company commander that he was coming to pick his son up from recruit training. Marines posing as news reporters and cameramen stalked the front gate. Fake wanted posters of role players posing as terrorists peppered the depot.
The actions of the role-playing terrorists may have been simulated, but the actions of the Marines were real. When simulated bomb threats were made against Headquarters and Service Battalion, the building was evacuated and secured for a time.
Throughout the exercise, depot personnel were encouraged to be more aware of their surroundings and to report suspicious activity to their chain-of-command and to PMO.