Reminder of 'stop-and-proceed' entry procedure at all gates

Drivers approaching all gates are reminded to stop at posted areas when entering NAS Patuxent River, only proceeding forward when they have been signaled by the gate sentry to do so.

NAS Patuxent River leadership reminds all drivers of its “stop-and-proceed” entry procedure across its fence lines. The installation had previously instituted stop and proceed at its Gate 1 in February 2021, and later extended it to Gates 2 and 3, as well as gates at Webster Outlying Field and Navy Recreation Center Solomons.

The procedures require vehicles to stop at a designated point several feet before the gate until directed forward by gate sentries.

“Unlike the previous entry procedure, where drivers came right up to the gate and showed their credentials, the stop-and-proceed has drivers stop at a painted line with posted signage and wait to be signaled forward by the Naval Security Forces sentry,” said Allan Mayor, antiterrorism officer at Pax River. “Once directed by the sentry, drivers will then approach and stop at the sentry and present ID for verification.”

Mayor explained that the new procedures are intended to add an extra degree of scrutiny by security personnel to vehicles entering the installation. It allows sentries at the gates a brief but critical additional period to visually identify vehicles and occupants, and provide direction to approach when the sentry is ready.

“Following the attacks at NAS Corpus Christi and NAS Pensacola, it became apparent that an added level of security was necessary,” Mayor said. “While it may seem insignificant, seconds can mean life or death in an emergency situation.”

The stop-and-proceed method also provides watch standers with an indication of hostile intent should a driver attempt to proceed through the gate without stopping, allowing them to more quickly engage an attacker if necessary, added Mayor.

NAS Patuxent River saw no major impacts to traffic as a result of the new procedures after instituting them in early 2021, but installation leadership noted that reminders to drivers of the new system occasionally need to be given.

“Following our most recent snowfall just after the New Year, we saw some drivers coming up a little too fast to the stop line before being waived forward,” said Capt. Derrick Kingsley, NAS Patuxent River executive officer. “That’s dangerous enough, but when you factor in poor weather conditions like snow and ice or even rain and poor visibility, it becomes a safety hazard for drivers and gate sentries alike. Bottom line – slow down and wait to be waived forward.”

Kingsley added that those who fail to adhere to the entry procedures may be subject to penalties and ticketing.

Mayor underscored the need for drivers to stay alert.

“With any new entry procedure, driver distraction, attentiveness and unfamiliarity with new procedures may delay gate operations,” Mayor said. “But so long as drivers know what to expect ahead of time and follow posted signage, we shouldn’t see any major impacts to traffic or safety.”

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