Navy Yard shooting puts spotlight on base safety - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Navy Yard shooting puts spotlight on base safety

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The shooting today that took the lives of at least 13 people at Washington D.C.'s Navy Yard has military personnel in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry asking questions about their own safety.

At Hunter Army Airfield and Fort Stewart, civilians show photo ID and proof of car insurance before driving on base.

Soldiers -- both active and retired -- show military ID. Military Police scan a bar code on the back of that ID. If everything checks out, the soldier drives through the gate and onto base.
Military personnel WTOC spoke with Monday night said that's pretty much standard across the military.

The alleged D.C. shooter -- Aaron Alexis -- had the right credentials, according to federal law enforcement, to drive onto the Navy Yard Monday morning.

He was a former navy reservist and current military contractor.

Alexis, 34, was counted among the dead Monday night.

A WTOC reporter sat down Monday evening with a group of military policemen and women in the military reception center of the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport.

They'd flown in from California for training in Beaufort. They'd been flying all day and learned of the shootings watching WTOC in that airport lobby.

They said the Navy Yard incident worries them. They rely on that ID system and say they can't search every vehicle that comes onto their base because it would take too long. Instead, they're trained to look for suspicious behavior.

The Savannah Navy League says the MPs -- and all service men and women need our support right now.

"If you see somebody in the military walking around, just tell them how great they are and be very thankful and grateful to them that they are serving our country," Navy League Vice President Pat Yovich said. "I don't think there's a day that goes by that I don't go up to someone in uniform, no matter what uniform they're wearing and tell them thank you for serving our country and thank you for keeping us safe."

Third Infantry Division Spokesman Steve Hart said he couldn't comment Monday night on whether additional safety measures are being taken at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield in light of the Navy Yard shootings. That's part of the Army's "force protection posture." Hart said the Army doesn't make details of that posture public, but he stressed that the 3rd ID is committed to the safety of its soldiers, their families and the installations.

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