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Anti-terrorism requires Eagle Eyes of all Airmen

The responsibility to preserve and protect Vandenberg Air Force Base's installation, infrastructure and population falls on all Airmen.  Our own vigilance is the best line of defense against potential advesaries who would exploit any possible weakness to sabotage national interests. (U.S. Photo by Airman 1st Class Adam Guy)

The responsibility to preserve and protect Vandenberg Air Force Base's installation, infrastructure and population falls on all Airmen. Our own vigilance is the best line of defense against potential advesaries who would exploit any possible weakness to sabotage national interests. (U.S. Photo by Airman 1st Class Adam Guy)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- When a man named Serdar Tatar delivered pizza to Soldiers stationed at Fort Dix, N.J., he was looking for more than a paycheck. He used his access to base to gather information he and five others tried to apply to a plot against the Army installation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested the six in Cherry Hill, N.J. on May 7 as they tried to buy three AK47 assault rifles and four semi-automatic M-16s from a confidential government witness. They were trying purchase the weapons to attack the Army installation and kill U.S. Soldiers.

While their apprehension was the culmination of 16 months of investigation, it may never have been uncovered had it not been for the vigilance of a video store clerk. The clerk tipped off the FBI after one of the suspects brought a video for formatting that showed zealous men training for what appeared to be war, according to the Camden federal court report. 

The vigilance displayed by the video store clerk saved Fort Dix from an assault that may have resulted in the deaths of Soldiers on their own base.

If there is any lesson to be taken from the pizza-terrorist story, terrorist attacks can happen to anyone, so Airman must always be prepared.

One person responsible for teaching Airmen these types of survival tactics is Todd Miz, 30th Space Wing anti-terrorism officer.

"Every Airman needs to be trained in anti-terrorism techniques," he said. "Their training makes the difference between life and death."

Level I Antiterrorism training provides basic techniques and strategies to avoid becoming an easy target and also teaches proven survival methods. Airmen complete this training annually through computer-based training or from a certified Level II instructor.

Level II Antiterrorism training is classroom-based and certifies Airmen to become antiterrorism technique trainers. The classes are taught at regional training centers or by instruction teams who travel directly to a base and focus on topics such as how terrorists operate, as well as what kinds of tactics and weapons they might use.

One of those instructors, Master Sgt. Michael Vance, works with the 421st Combat Training Squadron at Fort Dix, N.J.

The truth is that terrorists will try to strike anywhere they can, so every Airman must be vigilant, whether they're stateside or overseas, Sergeant Vance said.

He also teaches Airmen skills to determine the readiness of an installation in case of a terrorist attack.

"If people don't conduct regular risk assessment, a vulnerability will be exploited sooner or later," Sergeant Vance said.

As an anti-terrorism initiative, the Eagle Eyes program enlists the eyes and ears of Air Force members and citizens in local community against the war on terror. Mr. Miz recommends all Airmen be familiar with this program.

"The Eagle Eyes Program is an important tool for today's Airmen," he said. "What someone can learn by being familiar with the program can literally save lives."

Learning and using the seven steps of the Eagles Eyes Program can help prevent terrorist attacks from occurring.

Recognize surveillance methods. Someone who is using binoculars, recording video, or writing on maps should be reported to the law enforcement desk.

Beware of elicitation. Someone who starts asking questions that are of a need-to-know basis, like what time people arrive or leave work, how many people are in the squadron is a sign of elicitation.

Notice tests of security. A terrorist looks out for opportunities to enter secured locations, so Airmen must know things like how tall is the fence around the flight line or how easily could a person get on base with a fake identification.

Observe acquiring of supplies. A cover sheet, a password, or a missing uniform might be the key for a terrorist to infiltrate the base.

Suspicious persons out of place. A person who seems out of place in the work area, neighborhood, or in the back roads of Vandenberg should be reported to the law enforcement desk.

Dry runs. A dry run is like a dress rehearsal to make sure all plans are in place. Testing the length of traffic lights, driving to the desired location at different times of the day, and timing how quickly certain tasks are completed are all signs that someone is making a dry run.

Deploying assets. Enemies deploy assets when they have people and supplies in place or ready to go. If the dry run is the dress rehearsal, then deploying the assets is the performance.

For more information on the Eagle Eyes program or to make a TALON report, call the Air Force Office of Special Investigations detachment 804 here at 606-1852.