Photo Information

A mock victim lies on the floor before an active shooter exercise called “Operation Social Fury” aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Aug. 27. The exercise allowed first responders to react to the threat of an active shooter in a safe and controlled manner while observers judged their reactions.

Photo by Cpl. Christopher Johns

Active shooter exercise allows for safe training

29 Aug 2014 | Cpl. Christopher Johns The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines, Sailors and civilians participated in an active shooter exercise called “Operation Social Fury,” at the Recycling Center aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Aug. 27.   
The exercise allowed first responders to react to the threat of an active shooter in a safe and controlled manner while evaluators assessed their reactions.
“An active shooter is one of the more prevalent threats that are out there,” said Kevin Kelley, emergency manager for MCAS Miramar and an evaluator. “We put these scenarios together throughout the year so our response forces are as ready to go as they can be.”
Kelley described that the need for training like this has risen due to active shooter incidents like that of the Washington Navy Yard shooting last year.
The exercise began with authorities receiving a report through the Eagle Eyes Program about a disgruntled Marine who threatened to kill his peers over a Facebook post. The Eagle Eyes Program allows people to report suspicious or threatening activities to military authorities.
Upon receiving the tip, members of Miramar’s Criminal Investigation Department immediately began searching for the perpetrator and an accomplice, finding them faster than anticipated.
“CID told me they would have them in two hours, and they had them in less time,” said Kelley. “We were really surprised about that considering the amount of shady and questionable information we gave them to work with.”
In another portion of the scenario, the “shooters” invaded the Recycling Center and began to carry out their threats. Marines in the Recycling Center apprehended one of the perpetrators in one portion of the building, while the other suspect rampaged and left mock injured Marines throughout the building. 
Other Marines barricaded themselves in a room and called the Provost Marshal’s Office. Military Police officers entered the building shortly after in pursuit of their suspects. 
“It was very nerve wracking. [The police officers] moved really quickly and didn’t really give me much of an option when they got there. They closed with me pretty quickly,” said Cpl. Brian Bowman, the simulated shooter during the exercise and a Charlotte, N.C., native. 
Armed with two modified M9 Berretta pistols, one to simulate the sound of a gunshot and the other to fire pellets, Bowman engaged the officers until they incapacitated him. 
Unfortunately in today’s world, the threat of an active shooter is all too real, according to Bowman. He thought this training did a good job of showing how prepared the installation’s first responders are to answer the call.
After the conclusion of the exercise, participants and evaluators discussed what could be improved for future use should the need arise. They can be more effective in keeping the air station safe – ready to react whenever they are needed with training like this for first responders to rely on.
To file a report concerning suspicious or threatening activities with the Eagle Eyes Program, please visit, or call either (760) 725-3937 or (760) 763-3937.