Hagerstown minister training at Fort Dix, target of foiled attack

May 10, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - A Hagerstown minister training for deployment to Iraq was at the site that was the target of a disrupted plot to attack U.S. soldiers.

The Rev. Clark Carr, the minister at Grace United Methodist Church, is part of a Maryland Army National Guard brigade training at Fort Dix, N.J. Six men were charged Tuesday with plotting to kill American soldiers at Fort Dix and perhaps other military installations in the Northeast.

Capt. Randy Short, public affairs officer for the 58th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Pikesville, Md., said Carr, who is a chaplain in that brigade, has nearly 30 days of training left at Fort Dix.

Short said there are other soldiers from the area in the brigade, which is part of a group of 1,300 being deployed from Maryland in June.


He said the soldiers at Fort Dix were unaware of the planned attack until they were briefed Tuesday. Security there was heightened Wednesday, he said.

"They're checking IDs more carefully," Short said. "They're checking more vehicles, turning people back if they don't have everything exactly how they are supposed to be."

Last night, Short said, his brigade had to show ID to return to Fort Dix, which was an additional security measure.

He said the threat had no impact on the brigade's training schedule.

"For us, there is really no difference," Short said. "It does make us conscience that the war on terror is very real. People are paying a lot more attention in classes now."

Short said Carr and other members of the brigade were feeling safe, and discussed Tuesday's events over dinner.

"We're continuing our training," he said. "Everyone is safe. We're under armed guard."

On Wednesday, Short and other soldiers were being fitted for gas masks, and today they are expected to train on reacting to chemical attacks. Friday the brigade is expected to learn to search rooms in houses.

"Most of the trainers here are just back from Iraq," he said. "This is what they were doing 90 days ago. It's the most current training we can get."

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