By Gerald Williams, Bayonet & Saber /
“Are you prepared to put you and your family on the line?” asked Tim Price, chief of the protection branch in the Anti-terrorism Department on Fort Benning.
The month of August is anti-terrorism awareness month and Fort Benning officials want to ensure that every family and resident knows how to look for signs of dangerous behavior.
“It’s not just for the month of August,” said Price. “We want residents on Fort Benning to stay vigilant and be aware of suspicious behaviors, whether that be on Fort Benning or outside of Fort Benning. Knowing the signs of suspicious behavior is an important way of protecting yourself and your family from possible dangers.”
The iWatch initiative asks residents to watch, report and keep people safe.
“If you see someone suspicious, such as a person who constantly stakes out a building and is writing things down, report it to the military police,” Price added.
Price said that a few years ago, at Fort Dix, New Jersey, a terrorist attack was prevented by a clerk at a nearby gun range who questioned a pizza driver’s motives when he frequented the range. The clerk told the authorities and an investigation revealed that the pizza driver had conspired with friends to go on post and kill Soldiers. The driver was arrested before he could carry out his plan.
“It may be something that can be explained, but one little piece of information could discover something less benign,” Price added.
Price also warned about the dangers of terrorism with social media.
“A lot of people put everything they’re doing in their life on social media. Posting about where you’re at, how long you’ll be there and what you’re doing can help those who may seek to hurt Soldiers or their families at opportunistic times,” Price said.
“Always be careful about what you share online, because it can be used against you,” he added.
Price further stated that families need to share helpful information on preventing terroristic acts with each other.
“I can be as careful as I want to online, but if my 13-year-old daughter is posting about everything we’re doing, it could still leave the door open for possible unwanted incursions,” he said.
According to Price, a display booth will be set up at various times throughout the month of August, at places like the Exchange and Commissary.
“We want to make sure this information is available to as many people as possible,” said Price. “The PX, Commissary, and hospital are all places that many people visit over the course of the day, so we want them to have access to that information at designated times throughout the month.”
“We always place special emphasis on the community, family members and retirees,” he said.
Price also stated that although safety and preventing terrorism is important, he does not want residents to be fearful or paranoid about people or places on Fort Benning.
“While there are people in the United States that are capable of doing terrible things, we are not advocating fear or paranoia. Rather, we want to raise a healthy level of situational awareness so that if by chance you do see something out of the ordinary, that you’d know how to react to the situation.”