Imagine it’s late. You are on duty at the main gate. You hear sirens off in the distance. They are getting louder. They are getting closer. Then out of the blue a truck is in front of you. It’s over crowded and barreling straight for you and the main gate. What would you do?
That is the question that faced Sailors at Naval Air Station Kingsville in Texas last night.
At roughly 11:15 a truck containing 15 individuals approached the the Naval Air Station Kingsville in Texas. It was fleeing police for unknown reasons and ended up at the base. In a desperate attempt to flee they choose to breach base security.
Those who have ever been on base know there are rules that we follow to ensure safety. There is the mandatory wearing of reflective utility belts after dusk, a speed limit that can be out jogged, and several security check points to stop at. Last but not least, there are also those nasty little pop up barriers in the road that will kill your car in 2 seconds flat.
When the truck speed past those on Duty, training kicked in. It always kicks in. It’s part of the reason it’s drilled into Sailors at Basic. They were under attack and they acted accordingly. This comes to mind:
11 General Orders of A Navy Sentry
1. To take charge of this post and all government property in view.
2. To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert, and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.
3. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.
4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guard house than my own.
5. To quit my post only when properly relieved.
6. To receive, obey and pass on to the sentry who relieves me, all orders from the Commanding Officer, Command Duty Officer, Officer of the Deck, and Officers and Petty Officers of the Watch only.
7. To talk to no one except in the line of duty.
8. To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.
9. To call the Officer of the Deck in any case not covered by instructions.
10. To salute all officers and all colors and standards not cased.
11. To be especially watchful at night, and, during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.
Those on Duty raised the alarm, then did what they were ordered to do. Stop the vehicle. They deployed the ground barriers. Unfortunately people got hurt.
The fact that 7 of the 15 truck occupants were killed was a tragedy. So, does the knowledge that the other 8 were hurt enough to be transported to local hospitals for critical injuries.
But, I look at this incident through the eyes of a Sailor doing his duty. Even though there will be some psychological scaring, he without hesitation followed his orders, lead his group, and protected his base while under a preserved attack. For that I commend him. Bravo Zulu Sailor.
And to everyone else I ask… if you were in his shoes, what would you do?