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AirFest rules and guidance released

by Nick Stubbs
Thunderbolt staff writer

Base security and safety will be top priorities during AirFest 2004 in April.

The event will be the first here since Sept. 11, 2001 and all efforts are being made to ensure a successful and safe event, according to Lt. Col. Steven Kauffmann, 6th Security Forces Squadron commander. Securing an event in which thousands of people will be allowed access to the base is no small task, but with the help of police, the Coast Guard and other law enforcement, MacDill will be ready, he said.

"We don't want to get into detail of the security measures," said Colonel Kauffmann. "What we can say is that we will have it (the show) very well covered."

Senior Master Sgt. Steven Mootz is in charge of much of the security planning for the show, which was canceled for two years following the Sept. 11 attacks due to security concerns and major airfield construction. He said it is important that people visiting the show Saturday and Sunday, April 3rd and 4th, be aware of the rules that will be in effect.

All visitors will be able to enter at the MacDill and Dale Mabry gates only. No special ID is needed, but drivers must have a valid license. No coolers are allowed and no weapons of any kind, including pocket knives, are permitted. Backpacks, purses and bags are OK but will be searched. Pets, other than seeing-eye guide dogs for the blind, are not allowed. Scooters, skates, rollerblades, skateboards, bikes or remote controlled vehicles or toys will not be permitted.

Once on base, visitors will be directed to parking areas. Smoking is allowed but not within 50 feet of aircraft.

The 1,000-feet buffer zone in Tampa Bay around the base will be enforced and numerous patrol boats will be ensuring boat traffic remains outside the security zone. While some may wonder why thousands of cars will be allowed on base while boats will not be allowed closer than 1,000 feet, Colonel Kauffmann said it is a very different situation. Streets can be blocked and traffic can be funneled in the event of an emergency on the base but there is no effective way to control entry and exit on the water, he said.

Base residents and personnel working or on duty will access the base via the Bayshore gate, which will be closed to air show visitors. Base personnel not working or off duty and attending the show will enter through the public gates. Show spectators are advised to bring water, sunscreen and to wear good walking shoes.

Road closure plan during AirFest

AirFest 2004 is scheduled for April 3 and 4. This will create a potential traffic problem for base personnel and those personnel in the south Tampa area. The traffic flow plan has been coordinated with base and local authorities to ensure traffic flows as safely and smoothly as possible. The Dale Mabry gate and MacDill gate will be open for AirFest traffic only. These two gates will open for AirFest traffic at 8 a.m. Bayshore gate will provide access to base housing residents and MacDill employees. Due to force protection requirements and the expected heavy volume of traffic going to and from the Airfest, the 6th Air Mobility Wing will be forced to close some streets and parking lots and re-route traffic.

North Boundary from Kingfisher Street to CENTCOM Avenue (From the front of the Main Exchange to the front of Central Command's building) and Zemke Avenue from Kingfisher Street to South Boundary (The roadway along the rear of the Exchange/Commissary complex and CENTCOM's building).

During AirFest the Commissary and Base Exchange will be closed. Personnel going to and from the hospital will be required to use Bayshore Boulevard. Security forces personnel posted at the traffic control points (major intersections) will not allow personnel or vehicles on or through closed areas and streets.

U.S. Central Command personnel reporting for duty at CENTCOM from off the installation must enter the installation through the Bayshore gate and will be granted access to your respective parking areas after providing the traffic sentry with your CENTCOM identification card. Central Command will be limited to designated lots only.

U.S. Special Operations personnel reporting for duty at SOCOM from off the installation should enter the installation through the Bayshore gate and turn west on Tampa Point Boulevard, where they will be granted access to respective parking areas after providing the traffic sentry with a SOCOM identification card.

Contact Senior Master Sgt. Steven Mootz, 6th Security Forces Squadron, at 828-0189 or Master Sgt. Timothy Blake at 828-2059 for any questions or concerns involving AirFest traffic flow. (Information provided by 6th Security Forces Squadron)

 

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