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The main gate at Fort Jackson. Gates at the Army instillation will close sometime during a joint training operation May 18, 2022, and will remain closed for hours.

The main gate at Fort Jackson. Gates at the Army instillation will close sometime during a joint training operation May 18, 2022, and will remain closed for hours. (Tracy Glantz, The State/TNS)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Tribune News Service) — An emergency training exercise will be held at Fort Jackson this week, and while much of the event will be a simulation it will cause real-life ramifications, U.S. Army officials said.

Gates at the Army instillation in the Columbia area will close sometime during Wednesday’s joint training operation and will remain closed for hours, officials said in a news release.

The exercise is scheduled for sometime between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., according to the release.

“No one will be in immediate danger — we keep people safe by keeping our crisis skills current,” officials said on Twitter. “Expect long waits on post — be patient.”

Officials said the purpose of the drill is to provide a training opportunity and improve preparedness in the event of an actual emergency. The exercise will assess the post’s response measures to multiple all-hazard situations and put the crisis management plans and procedures for mitigating them to the test, according to the release.

While the Army said there will be “simulated casualties ... transported by emergency vehicles to several area hospitals as part of the exercise,” the traffic jams and limited access to Fort Jackson will be very real.

All gates at Fort Jackson will be closed during a portion of the training, and there will be increased random vehicle searches, officials tweeted. There will also be restricted movement in all of Fort Jackson’s buildings and facilities during the exercise.

Fort Jackson soldiers, employees and visitors can expect longer-than-usual wait times to enter post, and there could be traffic snarls near the installation’s entrance gates.

“Gates will be closed during the exercise, and we want the public to know in order to plan their routine trips to Fort Jackson for another day,” Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis said in the release. “Our Moncrief Army Health Clinic has already rescheduled many appointments for another day.”

Military ID holders who normally come on post to shop at the commissary and The Exchange should choose another day to conduct that business, officials said.

This includes military veterans and retirees, many coming to Fort Jackson from across South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina to use the facilities.

While Army officials said they want people to know it is not a real event, and no one will be in danger, Michaelis asked for patience.

“We are trying to ensure the public is not frustrated waiting either to get on or off post on this day,” said Michaelis. “Patrons should pack their patience and expect delays.”

Officials said they will post updates to social media during and at the end of the training exercise.

Fort Jackson is the nation’s largest military basic training base with more than 50,000 recruits assigned there each year.

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