SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – After gunman Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez shot and killed 4 Marines and a sailor at a Navy Reserve Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee last month, the Navy plans to station armed guards at all of its off-base reserve centers nation-wide.
An email was sent to Naval reservists 9 days after the attack, asking for volunteers to provide 45 days of armed guards at 53 Naval Operation Support Centers starting August 17th. The Navy told NBC News it plans to station armed personnel at all 70 reserve centers that are not located on military bases.
A navy official, who asked to remain anonymous, told 22News the Navy is also deciding whether to provide armed protection at its recruiting centers, but armed guards haven’t authorized it yet.
“They should’ve had that, really, they should,” said Eugene Keyser, a Vietnam veteran. “And the only way you get this stuff cleaned up is we gotta start doing it now.”
The Navy is the only service that has taken steps to place its own armed guards at off-base facilities. Two weeks after the Chattanooga shooting, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter called for more service personnel to be armed, particularly at off-site installations and recruiting centers.
David Kelliher, a former member of the 104th Fighter Wing at Westover Air Reserve Base, told 22News, “That should be automatically a safe ground. The main thing is that the door’s gotta be really open to have the young generation who want to volunteer to do their time.”
One of the victims of the Chattanooga shooting was Springfield native, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan.