Training exercise quickly became reality
— In an eerie quirk of fate, Fort Monmouth was just embarking on a test
of emergency response capabilities on the morning of Sept. 11 when word
reached the base of the attack on the World Trade Center.
had been placed at the gates so they could be barricaded, Department of
Defense police were in position and other personnel were gathered in
the Post Theater shortly before 9 a.m. in anticipation of responding to
a fake chemical attack from terrorists.
"Just as this was about
to kick off, we were advised of the World Trade Center attack and real
world events overtook the exercise,’’ said Timothy L. Rider, an Army
spokesman at Fort Monmouth.
The Army Communications-Electronics
Command had sent out a notice earlier, warning that anyone not
conducting official business would be turned away from Fort Monmouth
during the planned exercise Sept. 11 and 12 when personnel would be
deployed and measures taken as in a real emergency.
was geared to go into high-alert status as part of the exercise and,
after two airplanes hijacked by terrorists crashed into the twin towers
of the World Trade Center, it did. It went to Force Protection
Condition Delta, generally referred to as Threat Con Delta, meaning not
only people who aren’t assigned to Fort Monmouth but supplies are not
permitted to enter the base.
The condition scaled back before
the weekend to Force Protection Condition Charlie, which still bars
unauthorized persons but allows supplies to enter the base.
underscores the reason we do the exercise,’’ Rider said of the way the
real-life events in New York superseded the exercise. "We do it so the
situation is not foreign to them (the soldiers) and they react without
heightened anxiety or chaos.’’
— Sherry Conohan