Saudi military flight students in Florida grounded in wake of shooting

Saudi military flight students in Florida grounded in wake of shooting

Saudi Arabian military aviation students in Florida have been temporarily grounded as U.S. officials investigate last week’s shooting by a Saudi military member at a naval air base in Pensacola, Fla. that killed three people.

“A safety stand-down and operational pause commenced Monday for Saudi Arabian aviation students at NAS Pensacola and NAS Whiting Field and NAS Mayport, Florida,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Commander Megan Isaac told The Hill.

Reuters, which first reported the news, said that it would affect over 300 Saudi students across the three bases.


Lt. Commander Isaac also told The Hill that classroom training for the effected Saudi students will resume sometime this week.


While the FBI thinks the suspected gunman, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, acted alone in the attack, the shooting has raised questions about the U.S. military’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Currently, there are around 850 Saudi military students in the country for training. 

Since the shooting, U.S. lawmakers have called for a review of the vetting process for allowing foreign military personnel to train in the country.

“I’m extremely concerned by the reports that this shooter was a foreign national training on a U.S. military base in Florida,” Sen. Rick Scott said in a statement Friday. ” I’m calling for a full review of the U.S. military programs to train foreign nationals on American soil.”

Updated: 5:32 p.m.

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