The Duncan Banner
When a shooting took place about 8:18 a.m. eastern daylight time Monday at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., Oklahoma Sen. Corey Brooks was in the Office of Naval Intelligence, about four miles away, he told The Banner.
Brooks is grateful he didn’t have business that took him over to the Navy Yard, which could have easily been the case. But he’s also sad for the 13 Americans who lost their lives as a result of three gunmen.
“Obviously, it’s a great tragedy,” Brooks, R-Washington, Okla., said. “Any time our men and women, our civilians are put in harms way on our soil, it’s a big threat we need to address.”
Brooks is definitely familiar with the Navy Yard where the shooting took place. Brooks has been in the U.S. Navy since 2006, when he entered through the Direct Commission Process and said he was commissioned about 200 yards away from the naval yard.
A graduate of the U.S. College of Naval Command and Staff, Brooks earned a master’s degree in strategic planning at the U.S. Naval War College.
On Monday, he said it didn’t take long for the government buildings near the Navy Yard to react following the shooting. The Navy Yard went into immediate lockdown, and Brooks expects security to be increased for several months.
He said the surrounding government buildings, including the Office of Naval Intelligence, were locked down and no entrance allowed. People wanting to leave were free to do so.
“Business still has to go on,” Brooks said. “It’s been chaotic. Everyone can use prayers. It happened right here in our backyard again.”
Brooks said the Navy Yard is an average military base with the usual government security. The shipyard is a highly militarized area and according to AP, it was part of the military’s headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command, which buys, builds and maintains ships, submarines and combat systems. About 3,000 people work at the headquarters, many of them civilians.
He said in the 12 years since Sept. 11, 2001, security, although still present, has been downgraded as threats have been reduced. Brooks said the shooting could put many of the government buildings, especially those near the White House, on high alert.
He said people who have access to the Navy Yard and other government buildings often have identification they use to be permitted access to the sites. This includes military defense contracts, which the gunmen might have used, Brook said.
He said, after the shooting, the Office of Naval Intelligence was receiving conflicting information about a couple of Air Force bases also being targets of shootings. But these reports turned out to be false.
“It caused a great deal of speculation,” Brooks said.
Serving in the Navy is a highlight of his life, Brooks said. “It’s been fantastic,” Brooks said. “It’s one of the greatest U.S. traditions.”
Brooks was preparing to return home to Oklahoma when he spoke with The Banner. He didn’t anticipate any problems for his return home.