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Campus vigilance means taking attention

Vigilance and attention

Master Sgt. William Shepherd sweeps off the Minuteman outside Patriot Hall in the morning on May 9, 2018, at the Air National Guard’s Training and Education Center on McGhee Tyson Air Guard Base in East Tennessee. Sergeant Shepherd serves as the facility manager on campus, where thousands attend training annually. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. --

How many of you can recall the name of the suspected Illinois man recently arrested after walking into a Nashville Waffle House and murdering four individuals, all under the age of 30?

3 ... 2 ... 1, not many, I would venture to say.

For the Air National Guard's training and education center, its staff and faculty, Nashville is our backyard from East Tennessee. Who would have ever thought those young people on April 23 would lose their lives in a Waffle House?

As I left the base that day, I noticed the digital sign welcoming all walks of life to our living room that is the campus. The marquee also read, "Stay vigilant and report suspicious activity to BDOC at 336-3275."

As a team, we want to be on the same page when it comes to emergency situations. That way, we not only relay the correct information to our guests, but we can execute proper responses to unforeseen events.

As TEC's primary Facility Manager, I want to ensure that everyone is aware of their assembly areas, of cover vs. concealment, and of where to get information if ever called upon to lock down facilities.

Starting with assembly areas, if you had to evacuate the facility for a fire-alarm purpose, you should know the primary and alternate locations or rally points. I won't share them here for obvious security reasons; having said that, keep in mind that these evacuations include those students and guests who are in our care. If a fire alarm sounds, dormitory tenants are also required to rally at the primary location or the alternate location.

Whether TEC's guests are Airman experiencing professional military education for the first time or Soldiers who are here for professional development, staff and faculty have the considerable responsibility to ensure that they are informed and without questions on what they should do in the event of an emergency.

It is essential for all evacuees to report to the specified location for accountability; however, regarding forced evacuation during an active shooter incident, members are NOT to run to either of these locations! You are expected to take Cover in an area that protects you. Keep in mind that finding a Cover is different than concealment, in the sense that a Cover stops bullets whereas concealment hides you from sight.

I believe that there will never be enough information communicated to us regarding safety; that said, please read the printed go-to instructions posted on your facilities' information board. Two written rules that pertain to this subject are AFI10-245 (Antiterrorism) and the Airman's Manual.

For example, with the amount of mail that comes through the gate, it is essential to know what to do with suspicious packages. Your Airman's Manual lays out the step-by-step actions on how to deal with them.  Please take the time to read them.

Team TEC must know the precise expectations before we can expect our guests to know what is expected of them. 

I would also like to add if you (instructor, photographer, lodging teammate, or temporary team member) have any input on how to ensure the safety of our campus, please send it to me! I will follow up with you directly.