WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDHN) — Sen. Doug Jones asked nominees for U.S. Navy leadership what steps they were willing to take to protect service members and civilians on military installations after the massacre at NAS Pensacola.
During his speech, Jones mentioned the death of one of the sailors, Joshua Kaleb Watson of Enterprise. Watson was recognized as a hero for helping first responders find the shooter, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, after being shot five times himself.
“Kaleb was the officer on deck that morning,” Jones said. “He was one of the first people the shooter encountered and although he was shot five times, he managed to make his way out to flag down first responders and give an accurate description of the shooter.
Jones said he met with Watson’s father and brother, promising to work to find out how the shooting happened. He also cited the attacks at Naval Shipyard, Chattanooga, and Fort Hood.
“I think there are a number of instances that could have saved Kaleb’s life and perhaps others,” Jones said. “The GAO issued a report in 2015 concerning recommendations on military bases, and I’m not quite sure that any of that has been followed at this point. We’ve not seen any follow up.”
“I have just a simple question for both you, Ambassador Braithwaite, and [Mr.] Anderson: are you committed to looking at those reports, looking at those recommendations to try to see if there are things we can feasibly do to prevent the needless killing of men and women in service,” he continued. “Not only of the military, but also the potential civilians that are on these bases as well?”
Ambassador Kenneth Braithwaite, nominee to be the next secretary of the Navy, responded to Jones’ concerns — saying he understood the gravity of the attacks, especially NAS Pensacola.
“As you and I discussed, I was stationed at NAS Pensacola and that incident came a little closer to me because one of my shipmates in the Navy, his son was training there as we discussed and was in that building and literally just left minutes before the shooting,” Braithwaite said.
He promised Jones he would look into keeping military facilities safe.
“Anybody who goes aboard any military installation has to show an ID card and it always gives you a sense of security when you do that, whether you come into this building or you come into the Pentagon or any of our military facilities around the world. So I pledge to you, senator, that I will look into this,” Braithwaite said.