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Standing watch for the threat of terrorism at home

by William B. Hall
Installation Antiterrorism advisor
photo by Tech. Sgt. David B. Camp

It has been nearly three years since September 11, 2001, but the images from that horriffic moment in time are still as fresh today as they were then. That day galvanized us as a nation and taught us many hard lessons.

We learned our adversaries, the adversaries of freedom, will target anyone at anytime. We also realized an attack could be performed against the United States on her own soil. From that moment forward we have been at war against an enemy determined to destroy our way of life. But like others have done in the past, our enemy miscalculated the depth of our resolve.

MacDill has the best tool to combat terrorism in the Department of Defense's inventory, which is each member of the community.

The steps to the successful use of this tool foster a culture where every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, employee and family member aids in the protection of our base. So what is it that each of you can do to protect our installation?

The first step in maintaining the right security posture is vigilance. Remain current on national and local events by monitoring the news. Being cognizant of these events will assist you in preparing and dealing with threats or potential problems.

Step number two is vigilance. Awareness does not start and stop at the gates. No one knows your home, neighborhood and place of employment better than you do, so it only stands to reason that you are the expert in these areas. If you see things that are suspicious or unusual in these areas, report it. Contact the local police at 911, Security Forces at 828-3322 or the Office of Special Investigation at 828-4921. Get to know your neighbors, take care of each other and participate in programs such as neighborhood watch.

Finally, having the right attitude is the third step. A positive, proactive attitude will keep you alert and motivated. It is not just luck that we have prevented any other major terrorist incident. It is because of hard working, diligent individuals continuously fighting to keep our nation safe.

Now is not the time to become complacent in our responsibility to keep our community safe. Always remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Whether they died in a field in Pennsylvania, at the Pentagon, in New York City or at places like Khowst or Baghdad each of them was someone's son, daughter, husband or wife.

We owe them, as well as people who are still in harm's way, nothing but our best effort in preventing another terrorist attack.

I challenge each of you to continue to do your part to prevent terrorism. For example, look for suspicious activity, such as people photographing the base or a group of individuals talking about the base's security. Another way is to ensure your facilities are secured when you go home at the end of the day. Remember, we all have a part in providing a safe and secure environment.

As it was on that fateful day in September, we must remember that antiterrorism and security awareness is not simply a function of the base security forces. It is everyone's job.




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