MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Emergency lights flickered and fire alarms sounded inside the Ammo Supply Point aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico on Oct. 29, 2013, as outside, smoke billowed from underneath a 7-ton truck.
Despite the numerous worried looks cast by drivers-by, the scenario wasn’t a true emergency, rather a fire drill.
“This is an annual training piece that we try to do with the fire department to get more realistic training,” said Chief Warrant Officer James Hollingsworth, ASP officer-in-charge. “It helps us prepare and helps both us, and the fire department, know what the other needs to support each other in fires or other emergencies.”
The base fire department and ammunition technicians from The Basic School, partnered with the ASP Marines to conduct the event.
“One of the most important things that we do is integrate with our counterparts on the base,” said Capt. Kevin Dickey, firefighter. “We rely on assets to work in a unified command system, because when we make any kind of decisions, it affects other places on the base.”
Hollingsworth agreed that the event provided value to both the ASP and TBS Marines.
“Many Marines don’t get this opportunity at a larger ASP,” said Hollingsworth. “This training will help prepare them for a fire or emergency regardless of where they’re stationed.”
The drill forced younger Marines to make decisions they typically wouldn’t have to make as the senior leaders suffered simulated injuries or death. In addition to a number of injuries, the event simulated damaged buildings and vehicles, and a 7-ton truck fire from mortar explosions.
Cpl. Daniel Mitchell, ASP records chief, saw the importance of the event.
“We have units come through constantly, day after day, picking up ammo,” said Mitchell. “Accidents do happen, and if anything were to happen, we want to let everybody know our procedures for accountability and safety purposes.”
Hollingsworth commented on the success of the drill.
“Success to us is a better understanding of what these fire drills are supposed to be like and what we can get out of it,” said Hollingsworth. “We want the Marines to get a bigger understanding and not just go through the motions. That’s the biggest piece for us.”