Army Command staff meets at Lee Hwy, first time since shooting - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Army Command staff meets at Lee Hwy, first time since shooting

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Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher (left), Mayor Andy Berke and LTC Tony Parilli. photo Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher (left), Mayor Andy Berke and LTC Tony Parilli. photo

Five days after the shooting, the Army Recruiting Command Staff met back inside their Lee Highway office for the first time. They were joined today by city leaders and family members of many of several Army recruiters.

"I'm honored to be back at work and wearing this uniform everyday," said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dodge, "That's why I put this uniform on because I'm proud to be a soldier and to serve our community and our country."

Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dodge was one of four people inside the Army recruitment center when the shooter open fired.

"We heard the shots go off, we went into what's called an active shooter drill and then we went in and seek cover within our building," Sgt. Dodge said, "Waited for it to all clear and then we checked our staff and made sure everyone is okay, checked our brothers and made sure everyone was okay."

Dodge says the four survived by barricading themselves in a back room. No one from his office was injured.

It was not the Sgt's first time being shot at, Dodge served four tours in Iraq. But it was the first time Dodge has ever put his active shooter training to the test.

"Our current policy is not to be armed and that's why we have our active shooter drills," he said.

Some states are reconsidering that policy in light of what happened here in Chattanooga. 

Just feet away from the growing memorial paying tribute to the five fallen servicemen, Mayor Berke says Chattanooga will heal and come back stronger.

"We don't want this attacker to achieve any of his goals and part of that is, i think he wanted to tear at the fabric of our community and what we're going to do it put it back stronger," said Mayor Berke.

The recruitment center on Lee Highway, and the people who work there, have a long way to go before their office returns to normal.

But the military members say they will stay on mission.

"You take a moment, you take a knee, you reset and then you get right back at it. We have a mission and our mission is to put people in the Army and it never stops."

The command staff says they have not seen a rise in people looking to sign up locally since the shooting, they want to let everyone know this office is now back open to the public.

During a ceremony at the recruitment center Tuesday morning, members of the army thanked Chattanooga's city leaders for their support during the recent shooting.
Command staff from the Atlanta Recruiting Battalion gave Mayor Andy Berke and Police Chief Fred Fletcher each an Army coin of excellence. 
The coin represents the connection the city of Chattanooga has with its military members.
The commanding staff thanked the Mayor and the Chief for the city's response to the shootings and the lives they saved.

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