With the holidays on the horizon, Fort Benning officials have a message for Soldiers and families making big vacation plans: Enjoy the trip, but don’t forget about the terror threat.
Reports indicate terrorist organizations still want to carry out attacks against Americans on mass transportation lines, including airplanes, buses, trains and subway systems, said Al Harvey, chief of intelligence for the Maneuver Center of Excellence G-2. The intelligence division recently distributed a “Mass Transit Travel Awareness” memo across post as a reminder to units, directorates and agencies ahead of upcoming block leave.
“Terrorists have constantly expressed their desire to attack within the U.S., and most of all, attack U.S. citizens,” he said. “People in uniform and affiliated clothing are easily identified as U.S. citizens, which points back to the Soldier. Take necessary precautions. It’s also important to be able to respond and react in the event of a situation.
“Holiday season is a very symbolic time for us — and possibly the terrorists. Be vigilant, and don’t be a soft target.”
The “dynamic threat environment” Americans have lived under since 9/11 demands vigilance and discipline from a personal security standpoint, Harvey said.
“The most important thing is to be aware of your surroundings. Look for things that might be out of place,” he said. “And if you see something, report it. Apathy is not an option. The old tried and true method of looking out for each other works. The (Department of Defense) always tells us, ‘If you see something, say something.’”
Harvey said troops and families should think safety when planning trips for the holidays. But terrorists aren’t the only potential danger to consider.
“The most likely threat may be criminal,” he said. “Again, be aware of your surroundings. Avoid protest areas. Report suspicious activity or things that may look out of place. And above all, have a good time, but be aware and do it in a safe manner.”