Gunfire on the Thames during anti-terrorism drill

New London

The crew of a small center console boat at the Navy Submarine Base’s marina got ready to play the role of the simulated aggressor. It flew the Jolly Roger pirate flag to separate it from the good guys.

“You can sit at pier six but you can’t come any more north than pier six,” one of the crew members told us.

After we were ferried back a safe distance, the annual anti-terrorism training called Solid Curtain – Citadel Shield began. 

“So, there was an aggressor boat that decided, ‘hey, I want to create a little havoc on the inside of the base or inside of our barrier,'” explained Capt. Paul Whitescarver, Submarine Base Commanding Officer.

But security forces weren’t going to let that happen.

After first coming up alongside the aggressor boat, the security boat tries to shoulder it or push it away from the base. But when that doesn’t work, it peels away so a more aggressive defense can take place.

Soon, the sounds of gunfire can be heard. Within seconds, all of the blanks were fired and the attempted attack is stopped.

Related Content: Groton sub base holds anti-terrorism drills

The louder gunfire came from the pier, but there was also small arms gunfire which came from the security boat itself. In that simulation, the aggressor boat was trying to break through the barrier which surrounds the entire subase. That barrier can only be opened by security.

“Going to the range may be one thing. Actually, doing it on a boat or at the end of the pier is another thing,” said Capt. Whitescarver. “So, it’s great for them to be able to practice.”

The weeklong security drill is happening throughout the Navy. On Monday, entry control points on the main gates at the submarine base were tested and, later in the week, an active shooter drill will take place.

“They’re muscle moves,” said Capt. Whitescarver. “If you don’t…If your security force doesn’t practice pre-planned responses, then when the real thing comes, a lot of confusion. There’s confusion anyway, but if you practice it, not so much.”

So far, no real attacks like this have happened.

“Fortunately, no,” said Capt. Whitescarver. “That’s the easy answer.”

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