Share This Page

Frazier grad escaped Navy Yard attack

| Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, 12:38 a.m.
Karl Polacek | Daily Courier
Wayne Zackal , daughter Carrie Zackal LaMere and Elizabeth Zackal, get ready for Carrie’s induction into the Frazier High School Hall of Fame on Friday, Sept. 21, 2013. LaMere is head of Maritime Outfitting, a post delivery at Naval Sea Systems Command’s Logistics, Maintenance, and Industrial Operations Directorate, and was working at the Washington Navy Yard in D.C. when the shootings occurred this week.

It has been an interesting road from the halls of Frazier High School, Perryopolis, in 1997 to her office in Building 197 in the Washington Navy Yard for Carrie Zackal LaMere, 34, of Mechanicsville, Md.

LaMere was working in her civilian job as head of Maritime Outfitting, a post delivery at Naval Sea Systems Command's Logistics, Maintenance, and Industrial Operations Directorate, when the shootings occurred this week.

LaMere said she is the budget submitting officer for all new construction ships and submarines outfitting requirements, which include procuring all the spare parts delivered to the ships/subs as well as funding the pre-commissioning units at the shipyards.

“As the post delivery budget submitting officer, I fund post delivery phase test and trials including post shakedown availability and combat systems ships qualification trials for both ships and submarines,” she said via email on Friday afternoon.

It was Monday morning, on the floor where her office is located, when gunman Aaron Alexis, 34, opened fire, eventually killing 12 before he was killed.

LaMere said she is only approved to speak about her own experience on that day.

“I knew that what I heard was gunshots,” she wrote. “I then heard two of my colleagues state that there was an emergency. They simply repeated emergency, emergency, emergency.

“I proceeded to the stairwell and then it finally registered what was occurring. I ran down and out of the building and to the gate and safely off base.”

LaMere said she never had contact with Alexis.

She added she was able to contact her family — husband Rob, stepdaughter Rachel and sons Steven, Zak and Elias — before the story broke in the media.

“I don't think they were as scared as other family members who were unable to contact their family members,” she said.

LaMere was back at her alma mater, Frazier High School, on Friday to be inducted into the school's Hall of Fame for her achievements.

“It was nice to see some folks that I recognized and a few teachers, too,” she wrote. “The U.S. history classroom brought back memories. I was able to speak to the class about current events as well as Navy shipbuilding.”

She said her education at Frazier, from which she graduated in 1997, prepared her well for her education at Washington & Jefferson College and for her career beyond.

“Having a stepchild who just graduated high school and one starting his freshman year at larger high schools, I am impressed with the educational opportunities that Frazier is able to offer their students,” she wrote. “I was prepared for college in all areas, including science and mathematics. Frazier is also able to give individualized instruction because of the classroom size.”

LaMere visited Frazier High School with her parents, Wayne and Elizabeth Zackal, who now live in Garards Fort in Greene County, near Mapletown.

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kpolacek@tribweb.com or 724-626-3538.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.