“Fort Liberty honors the heroism, sacrifices, and values of the Soldiers Service Members, Civilians and Families who live and served with this installation. Fort Liberty is the Army’s Premier Power Platform for the Army and the largest installation by population. Fort Liberty trains more than 1 million soldiers a year across 172,000 acres of land. The combined total population of the installation is 282,000 including a little over 50,000 service members and more than 20,000 Department of the Army civilians and contractors,” according to the Fort Liberty fact sheet.
Fort Liberty conducted a readiness exercise on Jan. 24, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. within various locations on the installation.
“The Garrison conducts tabletop exercises throughout the year to identify concerns and refine SOP and response plans. Readiness exercises like this provide a controlled environment with our Emergency Operations Center to ensure we are able to validate our standard operating procedures,” said Shane Woodmancy, installation emergency manager.
Army Installation Management Command is “tasked with providing quality Soldier and family services, managing post infrastructure, integrating base operations and supporting warfighter deployability during emergencies such as inclement weather, power outages, cyber attacks and mass casualty events,” said April Olsen, media relations, Fort Liberty Public Affairs Office.
The readiness exercise on Jan. 24 was an active shooter on the installation. An active shooter event occurred on. October 27. 1995: “1 soldier was killed and 20 others were hurt Friday when a sniper opened fire on an athletic field at Fort Bragg (Liberty). The sniper allegedly fired on his unit as they prepared to start a morning run, a Fort Bragg (Liberty) spokesperson said,” according to CNN.
“It is better to prepare for the worst, so that you are ready for the least…it is to make sure we are prepared for whatever disaster is coming,” said Adam Buehler, Lead Fort Liberty Installation Emergency Manager. “In this exercise, an active shooter led to a hostage negotiation…we must be ready for everything from natural disasters to acts of violence.’’
The Fort Liberty Emergency Operation Center consists of Garrison command staff, “people from finance to logistics, law enforcement, fire, emergency services, all those elements send representatives here” said Buehler.
The active shooter readiness exercise was inclusive of a mock press conference representing the event in ongoing stages on the installation. Col. John Wilcox, Fort Liberty Garrison Commander, provided updates of the active shooter. The Fire Chief, Military Police, Family Services and Emergency Services officials were available for the journalist role-players. The mock press conference included questions and follow-up to Col. Wilcox and assembled essential personnel.
“Readiness exercises…...ensures we are able to provide the best services and responses possible to all the units, Soldiers, civilians who live and work on Fort Liberty,” said Shane Woodmancy.