FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Almost four years after 9/11, commanders at Fort Bragg staged the largest drill in state history Monday to prepare for a future terrorist attack on American soil.
Operation Orbit Comet simulated the response to several Congressmen being taken hostage by terrorists. An unknown number of troops, local law enforcement and community leaders worked together in the drill.
"The coordination it takes to pull this off creates, again, some building blocks that we continually step up as we climb up the mountain trying to understand where our country's vulnerabilities are," said Maj. Gen. Virgil Packett, the Army base's interim commander. "We are ready. We realize our vulnerabilities, and we're taking positive action to address them."
Congressmen Bob Etheridge and Mike McIntyre played the roles of hostages during the drill.
"Today, we see a way in which our national authorities and agencies can be involved, but also in which folks on the local level can be involved -- and that's what we want to bring together and have a nexus between the two," said McIntyre, a 7th District Democrat.
"This was the first (drill) of this type with the military involved, and I think from this one we find out there are a lot of resources that can be brought to bear that can make a difference in the safety and security of America," said Etheridge, a 2nd District Democrat.
The exercise continues through Friday with other simulated events, such as a safe-house raid, the detonation of a large explosive device on a ferry and a simulated commercial oil spill at the State Port in Morehead City.
Other simulated exercises include a computer exercise involving a pneumonic plague and a rail line chlorine incident.
WXII12 | August 16, 2005
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- The state's largest anti-terrorism drill continues Tuesday.