At Fort Frederica we have a wonderful view of the Marshes of Glynn on the other side of the Frederica River. Directly across the marsh from Fort Frederica is the Glynco site of FLETC, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.
FLETC trains National Park Service Law Enforcement Rangers, but 90 other Federal agencies also send agents there to be trained. Secret Service, Federal Marshals, ICE, Homeland Security, and all the branches of the military send men and women to FLETC for training. Training courses include active shooter, backcountry tracking, marksmanship, forensics, anti-terrorism, commercial vessel boarding, defensive boat and car driving, and bomb defusing. Although there are FLETC locations throughout the United States, the one in Brunswick Georgia is the largest.
Having this large training facility across the marsh offers Fort Frederica some interesting opportunities. We often have FLETC trainees and their families visit the National Monument. Even in their civies, you can tell they are from FLETC. Usually young, clean cut and very fit, they look like military personnel. We enjoy having them come to visit because they are usually very interested in the military history. They are also glad to have a free place to bring their families when they come for the weekend.
But our contact with FLETC goes beyond having them visit the park. On Tuesdays, when FLETC practices detonating bombs, we can hear the booms across the marsh. Visitors to Fort Frederica often ask us what that is – bombs make a pretty distinctive noise. We always tell the visitors the Spanish are attacking (based on the history of Fort Frederica). But then we also tell them about FLETC across the marsh.
Usually on Fridays we have a team of FLETC trainees visit the park for “Protective Services Training.” These trainees come to the park to scope it out for a “VIP visit.” They might be Secret Service agents checking out the park before an official state visit. Or NCIS preparing a site for a meeting of Admirals. They come in and prepare entry and exit plans, and emergency plans in case of an attack. The next week the same team comes back “escorting” whoever they are protecting.
This last week the Republican Party had all the bigwigs meeting on Sea Island, landing at St. Simons airport. Pence, Pompeo, de Vos, Kuschner, McConnell were all on the island. It made me wonder if the two men being escorted by FLETC trainees on Friday were some of these political figures instead of some decoys. I didn’t recognize them, but I’m not sure I would anyway.
Being across the marsh from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center adds an interesting element to our job at Fort Frederica. We enjoy meeting these young men and women from all over the United States, and appreciate the ways they are serving our country and keeping us safe.