June 13, 2017 --
“Exercise, exercise, exercise,”—were the words personnel, patrons and motorists, aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany heard echoing over the Big Voice signifying the kick-off of a full-scale exercise on the installation, June 13.
There were blaring sirens, racing emergency vehicles as Marine Corps Police Department personnel and Fire and Rescue teams from the base as well as Albany-Dougherty County mutual partners swung into action to execute their specialized skills for the event.
Teams of first responders converged around the Marine Corps Exchange, MCLB Albany’s Commissary, Covella Pond and several other locations in response to a report of the missing six-year old child.
Overcast, rainy weather set the mood for the emotions one mother expressed as she frantically reported her son as missing in the emergency scenario created for the “Lost Child” activity.
The urgency of the event was amplified when sounds of a helicopter overhead joined the search teams’ rescue efforts by providing air surveillance.
Military Working Dogs and MCPD handlers, dive teams and emergency rescue personnel searched the grassy, murky waters and perimeter around Covella Pond for any clues leading to the rescue or recovery of the youngster.
Ruebin Jordan, assistant fire chief, City of Albany Fire Department, commented on the relevance of his team’s participation in the exercise.
“The Albany Fire Department Dive Team has been called out to assist MCLB (Albany) in this training,” Jordan said. “Basically, what we’re doing now is deploying some divers into the water to do a search. The exercise scenario (is that) of a six-year old being seen going into the pond. Now, we’re setting up a dive team to do a perimeter search of the pond.
“It is important (to participate in these exercises, because it allows us to) get connected with MCLB (Albany) in partnership,” he added. “We are here for them and we know they are here for us. We’re able to come out and assist them with situations like this scenario. And, it’s important that we will know who to contact, and the main players in this (type) effort.”
Marine Corps Police Department, watch commander, Lt. Charles Duncan Jr., discussed the frequency of the day’s activities and the expected responses from participating agencies.
“It’s something that we do with certain roles and scenarios every year,” Duncan said. “This year, it just happened to be a lost child; how we respond to each particular incident is how we train. (The training today) has been very intense. It is always a challenge and there are things we want to do differently. Those are things we will talk about in our after-action review.
“This is very important because it could actually happen here,” he explained. “We don’t want to get caught (off guard) if it does happen. Right now, we probably have about 50-60 (personnel) training and doing different things.
“This is a required part of our jobs, because we need to know what to do,” Duncan continued. “Just in case something does happen, we need to know how to respond. We have Albany Fire and Rescue Dive Teams on the scene; we also have the (Georgia) State Patrol Aviation (helicopter) to provide air support and infrared surveillance.”
In addition to MCPD and local mutual partners’ roles in the day’s event, Marines from the installation participated in search of the missing child by setting up checkpoints of all vehicles exiting the installation during the exercise.
In a secondary scenario, an emergency call went out for medical assistance for a male who had collapsed in an office in Building 3500, Wing 100. First responders rendered treatment at the scene and transported the victim by ambulance.
To view more photos of the activity, visit MCLB Albany’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Marine-Corps-Logistics-Base-Albany-512695405469372/.