Marines Increasing Security at Recruiting Stations
The Marine Corps is installing bulletproof cubicles at 1,500 recruiting centers around the country. The work is expected to be completed by 2019, and cost $2 Million. The question is, will it be enough to protect recruiters from killers?
The incident that sparked new measures
In July of 2015, four Marines and a Sailor were murdered by Muhammad Yousef Abdulazeez. One Marine, Sgt. Demonte Cheeley, was wounded when the jihadi fired into the recruiting station in the first incident at a strip mall along Lee Highway.
Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Navy Logistics Specialist Second Class Randall Smith, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Skip Wells, and Staff Sgt. David Wyatt were all casualties of the incident at the Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga. A police officer was wounded later on during the exchange of gunfire.
According to a sources-sought solicitation distributed in May, the command is examining the possibility of topping the new fiberglass cubicles with bullet-resistant glass panels, 12 inches high and 18 inches wide. The front panels would have a protection rating of UL 5, making them strong enough to stop a bullet from a hunting rifle, while the side panels would be rated UL 3, capable of stopping handgun fire. The cubicles being installed are UL 8, the highest ballistic protection rating available.
According to the Military.com article, the Marine Corps opted out of allowing the recruiters to carry weapons, instead deciding to install the cubicles, bulletproof glass outside and inside, have training for safety, and establishing protocols. But in November, 2016, the Pentagon cleaned up the wording on a directive to allow personnel to carry weapons at recruiting stations, or places where there are no outside security. But the military protocols are still restrictive.
Bulletproof glass might have stopped the first shooting at a recruiting center along the Lee Highway, since it was a “drive-by.” The Marine Sgt Demonte Cheeley was shot in the leg at that time.
The second incident at the Naval Reserve Station was not as clear. The gunman first fired at the building, then stormed inside, fatally wounding the Sailor.
“Abdulazeez then exited the building through the back and entered a fenced motor pool area, where he shot several Marines. Three to five minutes after the second shooting began, he reentered the building, where he fired upon responding police officers and was fatally shot by them.”
Two of the personnel at the Recruiting station fired back at the gunman- the Lt Commander in charge and one of the deceased Marines. Police bullets were what stopped the perpetrator.