WASHINGTON — Naval Support Activity Bethesda carried out an active shooter exercise Tuesday in a cafeteria setting, allowing participants to test their ability to make critical decisions.
Officers moved swiftly into the building, where they passed injured civilians. Their focus was on taking down the shooter and leaving the handling of those injured to medical personnel.
“We train to fight. Our personnel get to learn from each training exercise,” said Capt. Mary Seymour, who oversaw the “Citadel Shield” exercise. “We do exercises like this so that we are prepared should an incident like this happen.”
Culinary Spc. 2nd Class Duayne-Claude Blackstone played the role of the active shooter: “As they return fire, I will drop down, take a fatal wound and be neutralized,” he said.
Every year, naval bases across the country carry out training events focused on real world threats.
In Bethesda, it’s an event that has taken months to plan yet unfolds in seconds. Officers are followed by training evaluators who review their performance once the exercise is complete.
The main mission is “to have effective training so that they can go out and perform their jobs to the best of their abilities,” Blackstone said.
The activity was held about two months after an active-shooter alert was mistakenly sent out via a mass-notification system, leading to an 80-minute lockdown on the grounds of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which is part of NSA Bethesda.