Navy Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White has confirmed that he opened fire on the Muslim terrorist* who killed four Marines and a sailor in attacks on two military facilities in Chattanooga, TN, on July 16.
When M_______ Y______ A_________ attacked the U.S. Naval and Marine Reserve Center on July 16 with a handgun and an assault rifle, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tim White opened fire.
White used his personal weapon to try to fend off A_________, he confirmed to the Times Free Press on Thursday. A_________ killed four Marines and a Navy specialist in the brazen daytime attack.
White, who has served in the Navy for 13 years, moved to Chattanooga in April with his wife and six kids — and a seventh on the way. As the commanding officer at the center, White is limited in what details he can release because of the ongoing investigation into the attack.
But his wife, Franicia White, said she supports her husband’s actions that day.
“He values human life enough to protect his sailors and others,” she said. “I am honored to be his wife and stand by him 100 percent.”
The July 16 attack sparked a national debate about whether military personnel should be armed in military buildings on United States soil.
White and one of the Marines killed in the assault opened fire on the terrorist with their personal handguns. It has not yet been released whether or not White and the Marine fired shots that hit the terrorist.
As the commanding officer at the facility, White would appear to have the authority under Department of Defense regulations to allow men under his command to be armed, but that has not been confirmed, and it seems doubtful that personal weapons would be authorized even if he did have the authority to have weapons on-site. While he likely saved lives, Lt. Cmdr. White runs the distinct risk of a court martial for daring to violate a dangerously outdated policy.
The national conversation on arming on-duty personnel seems to be falling on deaf ears in the Pentagon, which fears that allowing troops to carry personal weapons on base is a security risk. They fear such a policy will increase the likelihood of on-base attacks by members of the military, like both of the Fort Hood shootings, which were carried out by uniformed soldiers illegally armed with their private weapons.
The unfettered carry of concealed weapons on base will also greatly increase the likelihood of negligent discharges, as rank and file soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines aren’t trained to use handguns with any degree of competency, a fact proven the day after the Chattanooga attack when a sailor on recruiting duty negligently shot himself in Georgia.
These are very legitimate concerns which should not be discounted.
At the same time we admit the validity of these concerns, it is inarguable that there are threats to military facilities here in the United States. Several attacks, like those in Little Rock and Chattanooga were successful terrorist attacks that cost lives. Other terrorist attacks were foiled in the planning stages, or through dumb luck, like when President Obama’s mentor’s ex-girlfriend blew herself and her terrorist cell up.
I offered up what I still believe to be the best compromise between threat mitigation and risk assessment in my Los Angeles Times op-ed of July 20:
The Department of Defense could, with relative ease, enact a policy that states that the ranking commissioned officers and ranking noncommissioned officers must carry issued handguns while on duty at all department facilities employing uniformed personnel, from the largest base to the smallest recruiting facility.
As a matter of practical safety, the issued pistols could be carried on an empty chamber with a loaded magazine in the gun. The risk of an accidental or negligent discharge in that case would be zero, but 15 rounds could be chambered in a matter of seconds to respond to attacks. This would give our military people a fighting chance against home-grown extremists.
When Americans join the military, they know that they are giving up some of their rights in order to serve the nation. Part of that sacrifice is giving up the right to bear arms while in uniform and on duty, except for those arms which are issued to you.
By arming select NCOs and officers at every military facility using the model suggested above, the Department of Defense would be greatly increase force protection, with a very low risk of negligent discharges.
Brave men like Lt. Cmdr. White should not have to put their careers at risk in order to provide protection for their men. It’s past time for the Department of Defense to create a more sane policy regarding the security of those men and women serving this nation in uniform.