A group of unaware soldiers training at Mississippi’s Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center were fired upon on August 4, 2015, at 12:10 p.m. The suspects are believed to have been inside of a red pick-up truck bearing the spray-painted words “broken arrow” on its body. Perry County Sheriff Jimmy Dale reported that two white men who are believed to be the shooters were seen inside of a different vehicle, leaving police to believe the suspects switched vehicles during the event.
The 134,000-acre camp is currently the site of a mass training exercise which began in the middle of July and is being attended by 4,600 soldiers. The training is planned to continue into the middle of August, as long as the area is deemed safe following the incident at Camp Shelby in which soldiers were fired upon.
Although the shooters have yet to be identified, progress is being made in their identification and measures are being taken to locate the accused persons based on witness testimonies and evidence discovered in the area. No soldiers were killed or injured by the bullets, but the act itself could be seen as attempted murder, so charges are to be determined.
The mystery as to why Camp Shelby’s soldiers were fired upon has caused the camp’s commanding officers to become extremely vigilant of their surroundings and of the safety of the participants of the training exercise. Security will be heightened at the camp because of this event. The safety and security of the training exercises at Camp Shelby are of utmost importance, since the trainees are being taught skills and tactics used by the U.S. Army during wartime.
Although the camp’s training includes reviewing and assessing instructional videos regarding “field medicine practice, directed artillery fire and surveillance drone launchings,” practice drill instructors never expected a drive-by shooting to threaten the training center and its participating soldiers. Major General Augustus L. Collins of the Air Force National Guard admitted that this type of education is relatively new, but security and the possibility of outsiders firing upon the soldiers were never considered to be issues.
The incident at Mississippi’s Camp Shelby in which training soldiers were fired upon has concerned many about the safety and security of soldiers, both on-and off-official stationed duty. The suspects at large have not only heightened community awareness and caused the trainees to be extra-vigilant, but has also caused them unease as they consider how safe they really are until the perpetrators are caught.
By Jarick Roaderick and Jennifer Pfalz
Nation Sun Journal: Mississippi Police Search for Gunmen Who Fired at Camp Shelby Soldiers
Clarion-Ledger: Shots Fired at Camp Shelby Soldiers
Washington Times: Big Training Exercise Through Mid-August at Camp Shelby
Image by Petty Officer 1st Class Demetrius Kennon Courtesy of Wikimedia – Public Domain License