By Wendy ArevaloAugust 9, 2019
FORT KNOX, Ky.- With August being Antiterrorism Awareness Month, 1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) force protection staff are working to ensure personnel sustain a heightened awareness and know where to go and what to do in the event of a terror attack.
Personnel will receive additional antiterrorism training and participate in drills to ensure all personnel know the evacuation and rally points in the event of an emergency.
Maj. Jayson Hensley, protection officer in charge, 1st TSC, said the recent mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio highlight the importance of having a plan in the event of an attack.
"It just validates the importance of the training and not to take the training lightly, to actually think, 'where would I go, what would I do?'" Hensley said.
Sgt. 1st Class Elias Solano, antiterrorism/force protection noncommissioned officer, 1st TSC, is one of the few Soldiers at the command qualified to teach antiterrorism awareness since he attended the Antiterrorism Officer Basic Course.
Solano said one of the advantages of face-to-face training is you can provide unit-specific training as well, such as reviewing rally points and evacuation plans.
"It's better than an online course, which you're probably just going to click through," Solano said. "Also, you learn things specific to the organization, such as what battle drills we run, where we are supposed to go, what are we supposed to do," Solano said.
Solano added that August is a good month to focus on antiterrorism awareness because of the influx of new personnel.
"Usually, you'll see a large surge of PCSing in the June, July months," Solano said. "Nine times out of 10, you have newer people, so that's why it's ideal, because you get a large population of new Soldiers who aren't familiar with the practices that the organization holds."
Hensley said 1st TSC plans to also run drills in conjunction with emergency services on Fort Knox, so they get training as well.
Another intention of antiterrorism awareness month is to encourage people to be alert to suspicious behavior and report it.
"Don't look at your feet when you walk, like a lot of people do," Hensley said. "Look around at your surroundings, that's the biggest thing ... if you work here, you know what's out of place and what's not, like, 'hey that bag wasn't by the door earlier, don't just walk by it, and ignore it."
"People get complacent, you're just going from A to B, and that's when you get in trouble," Hensley added. "Pay attention to the subtle things."
Even though antiterrorism is focused on August specifically, Hensley said that training needs to be done year round.
"A third of the unit changes over yearly, so if you don't stay on it, then potentially a third of the people here don't know what to do if something were to happen, you need to revisit it and think about it," Hensley said.