Military Emergency Training Will Cause Real Problems at Fort Jackson

Fort Jackson’s main gate. The gates to the army installation will close during a joint training operation on May 18, 2022 and will remain closed for hours. (Tracy Glantz, The State/TNS)

COLUMBIA, SC (Tribune News Service) – A an emergency training exercise will be held at Fort Jackson this week, and while much of the event will be a simulation, it will have real-life ramifications, U.S. military officials said.

The gates to the Army installation in the Columbia area will close during Wednesday’s joint training operation and will remain closed for hours, officials said in a news release.

The drill is scheduled between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., according to the statement.

“No one will be in immediate danger – we are keeping people safe by keeping our crisis skills up to date,” officials said on Twitter. “Expect long waits on the job – be patient.”

Officials said the purpose of the exercise was to provide a training opportunity and improve preparedness in the event of a real emergency. The exercise will assess the position’s response measures to multiple all-hazards situations and test crisis management plans and procedures to mitigate them, according to the statement.

While the Army said there would be “mock casualties … transported by emergency vehicles to several area hospitals as part of the exercise,” traffic congestion and limited access to Fort Jackson will be quite real.

All gates to Fort Jackson will be closed for part of the training, and there will be more random searches for vehicles, officials tweeted. There will also be movement restrictions in all Fort Jackson buildings and facilities during the exercise.

Soldiers, employees and visitors to Fort Jackson can expect longer than usual wait times to enter the post, and there could be traffic jams near the facility’s entrance gates .

“The gates will be closed during the exercise, and we want the public to know so they can plan their routine trips to Fort Jackson for another day,” said Fort Jackson Commanding Officer Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis said in the statement. “Our army health clinic in Moncrief has already rescheduled many appointments to another day.”

Military ID holders who normally come on duty to shop at the police station and The Exchange should choose a different day to conduct these activities, officials said.

This includes military veterans and retirees, many of whom come to Fort Jackson from all over South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina to use the facilities.

While army officials said they wanted people to know this was not a real event and no one would be in danger, Michaelis asked for patience.

“We try to ensure that the public doesn’t get frustrated waiting to get on or off the station that day,” Michaelis said. “Customers should be patient and expect delays.”

Officials said they would post updates on social media during and at the end of the training exercise.

Fort Jackson is the nation’s largest basic military training base with more than 50,000 recruits serving there each year.

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