SUMTER, S.C. — August 25, 2015 – South Carolina Army National Guard Soldiers in the 351st Headquarters Support Company partnered with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Department to train in reacting to an active-shooter scenario at the Army National Guard Armory in Sumter, South Carolina, Aug. 21, 2015.
This is not the first time Soldiers in the organization received active-shooter training, as it is an important and ongoing skill that must be routinely tested with community law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement personnel from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Department were on scene to facilitate this training, along with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, as they ramp up support state-wide for increased force-protection measures.
SLED agent Wayne Freeman provided classroom instruction on how to react to a shooter and what to do when first responders arrive.
“The average active shooter engagement is 12 minutes long,” said Freeman. “Victims only need to fight for three minutes because it takes first responders approximately three minutes to arrive to most any location.”
Freeman added that training has a direct impact on survivability. He discussed survivor psychology and how these traits enable individuals to instinctively know what to do when faced with a life threatening event such as an active shooter.
“The information Agent Freeman put out was an eye opener,” said Sgt. Christopher Cathey, a supply specialist in the 351st HSC. “Some things you just don’t think about until it’s too late.”
Cathey added he had a different perspective after the instruction and felt better prepared if ever caught in an active-shooter event.
Sgt. Maj. Joe Clavon, 59th Aviation Troop Command Anti-terrorism Officer said, “This training was very beneficial. It got us involved with our local law enforcement and informed us on what to expect from them if they were ever needed.”
Under the Executive Order signed by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Aug. 17, 2015, South Carolina National Guard units at armories and facilities state-wide are conducting active-shooter table-top drills and active-shooter response exercises partnered with local law enforcement. Governors across the nation are taking steps to increase force protection measures for National Guard Soldiers and Airmen after the July 16, 2015, domestic terrorist attack in which five U.S. service members were killed.
“Given the evolution of the threat over the past 15 years, this order by Gov. Haley allows us to take the next step of force protection for troops on U.S. soil,” said Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston, Jr., the adjutant general for South Carolina. “We are implementing changes partnered with SLED and the Department of Public Safety that are proactive, realistic and sustainable. We will continue to take all steps necessary to ensure our South Carolina National Guardsmen have the proper force protection both here and abroad while they protect our citizens.”