A Marine reservist was wounded during Friday’s shooting aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, an official with the Marine Corps confirmed Saturday.
The wounded Marine was not on Marine Corps orders at the time of the incident, Adam Bashaw, a spokesman for Marine Forces Reserve, told Marine Corps Times.
The Marine Corps provided no other details and did not identify the wounded Marine.
Escambia County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office said Friday during a press conference that two officers were wounded: One shot in the knee and the other in the arm. Both are expected to recover.
One of those wounded officers is the Marine reservist, and may be the reason why Corps officials struggled to confirm whether any Marines were wounded during Friday’s attack.
As of 2:17 p.m Friday, the Marine Corps had no confirmed reports of any Marines wounded during the attack that claimed the lives of three others and wounded eight. The gunman, a Saudi Arabian military student — who was a student in the aviation pipeline — also was killed in a shootout with sheriff’s officers.
The gunman was Saudi officer Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, the Washington Post reported.
The Saudi student’s training started August 2017 and was slated to end August 2020, the Pentagon told Marine Corps Times. His training included English language, basic aviation and initial pilot training, the Pentagon said.
Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott called for a review Friday of U.S. military programs that train foreign nationals following the deadly shooting.
“I’m extremely concerned by reports that this shooter was a foreign national training on a U.S. military base in Florida,” Scott said in a statement released Friday.
“Today, I’m calling for a full review of the U.S. military programs to train foreign nationals on American soil. There is no reason we should be providing state-of-the-art military training to people who wish us harm,” Scott said in the statement.
A couple hundred international students train at the Florida installation, Navy Times reported.
There currently there are 5,181 foreign students from 153 countries in the United States for security cooperation training, the Pentagon told Marine Corps Times — 852 of those students are Saudi. Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe first reported the number of foreign military students training in the U.S.
The DoD said it vets foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. for military training.
“U.S. Embassy personnel (e.g., Regional Security Office, Drug Enforcement Agency, Consular Section) conduct an in-country screening that includes researching necessary databases for evidence of drug trafficking, support to terrorist activity, corruption, and criminal conduct," the Pentagon said in a statement to Marine Corps Times.
Military leaders attending the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, Saturday defended the U.S. military’s foreign military training program and hoped fallout from from the shooting wouldn’t obscure the importance of the program, Military Times reported.
“That’s an advantage we bring as a military,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein at the Reagan National Defense Forum. “We have allies and partners, and often our adversaries don’t.
“My biggest concern would be that we would walk away from those key relationships, folks we know that we need when we go into combat.”
The motive of the Saudi gunman is still unknown, but The Associated Press reported that the Saudi student previously had hosted a dinner party where he showed videos of mass shootings.
Scott described the Pensacola attack as an “act of terrorism” in a statement released Friday evening.
“All of us have forces in other countries, and theirs in ours,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger told audience members at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Military Times reported.
“Today, I’m calling for a full review of the U.S. military programs to train foreign nationals on American soil. There is no reason we should be providing state-of-the-art military training to people who wish us harm."
“You have to investigate this and see what’s behind it. But reservations about sending Marines or servicemembers to other countries, including Saudi Arabia, I have none at all," Berger explained Saturday.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Friday he was “considering several steps to ensure the security of our military installations and the safety of our service members and their families.”
“It’s is clear that we need to take steps to ensure that any and all foreign nationals are scrutinized and vetted extensively before being embedded with our American men and women in uniform,” Scott said in a statement Friday.
Marine Corps Times reached out Escambia County Sheriff’s regarding the wounded officers and has yet to receive a response.