FORT SILL, Okla. -- Four security personnel were honored July 16, for their part in preventing an attempted unauthorized entry by six individuals July 3 at the Bentley Gate on Fort Sill.

Sgt. Bruce Ausley, Department of Army police, and American Contract guards, Lorenzo Wallace, Harry Kimberling and Adrian Watkins, put their training and teamwork skills to thwart the group seeking to enter post in search of jobs.

"The actions of these four men speaks of the professionals we have here 24 hours a day, year round, ensuring a safe and secure environment here at Fort Sill," said Maj. Gen. David Halverson, U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general.

Working on a busy holiday weekend, with a high traffic volume and the previous evening's Toby Keith concert could have degraded watchfulness at the gates, said Col. Raymond Lacey, Fort Sill Garrison commander.

"This incident showed our security system works," said Lacey. "It could have been a really bad situation, but it turned out to be a really good thing."

Williams said the people stopped at the gate inquiring about a building on post where they could check on job opportunities. Asking for ID cards, Williams noticed immediately the cards were not government issued and just didn't look right.

He notified his supervisor who confirmed Williams' assessment and notified his superiors. When Ausley showed up, he noticed many of the individuals were foreign nationals whose passports did not include dates when they officially entered the United States. He then turned the matter over to the FBI for further investigation.

Jeff Murrain, chief of contract guards praised the professionalism of his guards and said their actions are a direct reflection of the training that goes into preparing guards to man the entry control points around post.

"They remained calm under pressure and through their due diligence discovered the false ID cards," said Murrain. "Training played a big part in the outcome as they followed their procedures to the letter and notified the right people at the appropriate time."

All guards when initially hired go through 120 hours of training and an additional 40 hours of training by the Directorate of Emergency Services.

"Some of the training overlaps, but you can never get too much training when dealing with access control and security of a military installation," said Murrain.

In addition to the preliminary training, guards attend 40 hours of recertification training each year that may include working with barriers, ID cards, search procedures and random anti-terrorism procedures. Murrain said daily refresher training also takes place to keep the guards sharp on any issues pertinent for that time of year. He said unannounced random gate checks are also conducted to see how they perform when not otherwise alerted.

Murrain said there's now 25 contract guards on post. At the contract's peak, the post employed 100 guards, but soon all positions will be staffed by DA civilian employees.

Speaking before the gate guards at the awards ceremony, Halverson reminded them the vigilance and readiness that keeps Soldiers alive in Iraq and Afghanistan play a role in the actions and awareness of good gate guards.

"You are the first line of defense to protect our Soldiers and their families; what you do here at Fort Sill everyday is important," he said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16