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NAS Pensacola Prepares For Access Change, Annual Drill

Monday kicks off a brand new month, and aboard Naval Air Station
Pensacola, a return to a previously-used traffic pattern and an exercise
aimed at beefing up security.
Beginning February 1st, visitor
traffic will be routed to the entrance on Blue Angel Parkway. Commander
and Executive Officer Shawn Dominguez says that includes all unescorted
visitors going to the most popular attractions aboard base: the National
Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola Lighthouse, and Fort Barrancas.
“Visitors
who do not possess valid [Department of Defense] identification will be
required to enter the installation via the west gate,” said Dominguez.
The Aviation Museum plays host to nearly one million visitors per year.
The
access change is among directives issued by Navy Sec. Ray Mabus. The
Blue Angel Parkway gate will get additional personnel and facilities, as
the Museum, Lighthouse and Fort Barrancas are being turned into what
Dominguez calls a “controlled area.”
“It’s going to expedite the
procedures for their getting on base. They’re not going to have to be
vetted at that time,” Dominguez says. “They’re just going to show a
civilian driver’s license, a passport, some type of ID. We’ll have
internal checkpoints to ensure that they don’t venture any further than
those three areas.”
Those going to other activities and tourist
stops, such as the annual Blue Angels homecoming show, Barrancas
National Cemetery, and the golf course, will continue to use the main
gate on Navy Boulevard.
Monday also marks the kickoff of the
Navy’s annual “Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield,” which is scheduled to run
through February 12th. The drill has its roots in the 9/11 attacks, in
testing the Navy’s anti-terrorism and force protection capabilities. The
fact that it begins on the same day as the new access pattern, says XO
Dominguez, is purely coincidental.
“This is a Fleet Forces
Command exercise, designed to enhance training and readiness of our
naval security force personnel,” says Dominguez. “The first week is more
of a local exercise, then the second week is when we go nationwide.”
The
exercises are aimed at testing overall security response, with an
emphasis on much of the PPR – Previous Planned Responses. Commander
Shawn Dominguez is asking for the public’s indulgence and cooperation
during the 12-day operation.
Commander Shawn Dominguez is also asking for the public’s indulgence and cooperation during the 12-day operation.
“There
might be some slight traffic delays at times,” Dominguez says. “At
times you may see the front gate, the back gate shut down momentarily,
then re-open again at a later period. And you might see some security
personnel in battle dress running through the installation.”
Dominguez
says the number one priority, for Commanding Officer Capt. Keith
Hoskins on down, is the safety and security of everyone working, living
or visiting NAS Pensacola.

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