Security is Team Effort at NATO Ministerial Conference
By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Oct. 9, 2003 Tigi, a 5-year-old German shepherd, intently searched the bags on the ground, then looked to Air Force Staff Sgt. Bennie L. Hall for the next command.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Thomas Rhoads and Tina, a 3-year-old German shepherd, search bags at the World Arena parking lot near the site for the NATO Ministerial in Colorado Springs, Colo. Rhoads' is assigned to the 366th Security Forces Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Photo by K.L. Vantran
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
Hall and Tigi, from the 97th Security Forces Squadron at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., are part of a multiservice team providing security to the Informal Meeting of NATO Defense Ministers here Oct. 8 and 9.
People from all services took part in 24-hour entry control and escort duty, according to Army Staff Sgt. Alfred Powell, security coordinator for the Colorado Springs NATO Task Force.
Two areas were set up near the Broadmoor Hotel, the site for the NATO meeting. The World Arena site mainly screened and escorted media, while the Penrose Equestrian Center processed hotel employees, NATO and military support staff.
Bags were searched by dogs and then run through an X-ray machine. Individuals had identification checked and walked through a metal detector. Buses also were searched by dogs and entry-control personnel.
As long as an escort stayed with the bus, it did not need to be inspected each time, said Powell, whose home unit is Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 759th Military Police Battalion, Fort Carson, Colo.
"If, however, for any reason, a bus was left unattended, it would need to be re- searched," he added.
Contractors at the Penrose site who searched delivery vehicles for the hotel had an X-ray machine that could look at trucks as large as an 18-wheeler.
Powell said operations have run pretty smoothly since they began Oct. 3. It's the people who make the difference, said the noncommissioned officer.
"We're pulling some long hours, doing whatever it takes to make the mission work," he added. "We've got some good folks out there. We may talk some different lingo, but we all know the same job."
The 18-year veteran said he felt lucky to have been picked for the job.
A June graduate of the security forces school at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, Airman 1st Class Marlene Medina agreed.
"It's pretty awesome to get picked to do something like this," said Medina, 721st Security Forces, Cheyenne Mountain Air Station here. "It's really interesting. I'm excited to do it."
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Thomas Rhoads and his partner, a 3-year-old military working dog named Tina, also were part of the entry control crew at the World Arena site. Rhoads is assigned to the 366th Security Forces Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
"This is the best job there is," he said, as he and Tina finished searching some bags.