SSC-Natick Press Release
U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Natick, MA 01760-5012
Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
Date: November 4, 2005
SSC conducts force protection exercise
NATICK, Mass. -- In compliance with an annual requirement mandated by the Department of the Army, the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (SSC) conducted a force protection exercise on Oct. 20.
The exercise tested the effectiveness of SSC's security forces as well as local emergency responders, including Natick Police and Fire Departments, the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad, and the National Guard. It also tested the preparedness of the SSC workforce and military personnel to respond to such an attack.
According to Stephan Chromiak, SSC security specialist, "The annual exercise is one tool available to the commander to access the critical capabilities of his staff. The most significant indicator of success was the number of people that made themselves available to accomplish the mission."
This exercise included a simulation of a car bomb that killed five people and injured 17 others. The car bomb reenactment included a car in flames, dense smoke, sounding alarms, and mock victims. Many of the mock victims were Natick High School student volunteers.
The event also included a suspicious suitcase, a suspicious package, and a device exploding in one of the laboratories.
"The coordination of the response was extraordinary," said Richard Polley, chief of the SSC Security Management Office. "That second bomb was unexpected but really good because we were able to test ourselves on how to really respond."
The State Police Bomb Squad quickly x-rayed the suitcase and disabled the device.
"They know this is an exercise, but they don't know the details of the exercise," said Jerry Whitaker, SSC public affairs officer. "This is done to be as realistic as possible."
According to John Manning, SSC deputy garrison manager, "The annual force protection exercise is an excellent way to test and improve our response to an emergency situation. I am very pleased at the responsiveness and professionalism of all participants, including our security team, our civilian work force, our military personnel, and our local emergency responders."
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