Frazier grad escaped Navy Yard attack
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3538.