Before You Go
By Capt Christopher Rogalski, 138th SFS/SP
/ Published October 27, 2011
Oklahoma Air National Guard, Tulsa OK -- This month's "Sooner's On Guard" article will address travel safety and security, during the holiday months. Take the time to read and employ these tips to increase your safety and security.
Before You Go:
- Know exactly where you are going and what stops you'll make along the way.
- Try to book a non-stop direct flight to your destination. The fewer stops and plane changes the better.
- Buy your tickets and pick them up in advance - not at the airport. Ask for a window seat near the center of the plane.
- Avoid known "hot spots." If possible, use military air, military charter, or US flag carriers.
- Purchase local currency for use immediately after you arrive, for taxis, tips, meals, etc.
- Travel Light.
- Pack only what you need and nothing more.
- Carry only essential items on your person such as passport, military ID, driver's license, etc. If you, or other family members, must take regular medication, take an ample supply, a copy of your prescription, or a statement from your physician explaining the need for such medication (especially if it is a controlled substance like barbiturates).
- Know the generic name so you can reorder abroad if your specific brand is unavailable (or carry generic medication).
- If you wear eye glasses or contact lenses, carry a copy of the prescription and lens care materials.
At the Airport:
- Arrive early at the airport.
- Don't loiter around the ticket counter, baggage check-in, or the security screening area. Pass through security as quickly as possible and go to the boarding area. If you want to use shops, restaurants, and lounges, do so in the security area, not the main terminal.
- Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
- Don't casually discuss your military affiliation with anyone. Report any suspicious activity to airport security officials and beware of unattended luggage.
- Be extremely observant of personal carry-on luggage.
- Theft of briefcases, designed for laptop computers, are increasing at airports worldwide; likewise, luggage not properly guarded provides an opportunity for a terrorist to place an unwanted object or device in your carry-on bag. As much as possible, do not pack anything you cannot afford to lose; if the documents are important, make a copy and carry the copy.
- Don't let your guard down within a secure environment.
- Once in the air, continue to be alert and immediately report anything suspicious to one of the crew members.
If the Plane is Hijacked:
- Above all else, remain calm.
- Be polite and cooperate.
- Be aware not all hijackers will reveal themselves initially, desiring to draw out security personnel or overhear conversations that reveal useful passengers.
- A tourist passport is a nonmilitary travel document. Surrender it on demand and do not attempt to hide your identity with an elaborate story.
- Discreetly dispose of incriminating materials such as your military ID. If confronted, admit your military connection, explaining you always travel on your personal passport and no deceit was intended.
- Don't draw attention to yourself, be observant of activities around you and your captors.
- If a rescue attempt is made, drop to the floor immediately and do not rise up until told to do so. Fully cooperate with your rescuers.
These tips and other important information are located in the CJCS Guide 5260, Service Member's Personal Protection Guide. Further information about Antiterrorism can be accessed on-line.
Department of Homeland Security: http://www.dhs.gov
MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base: http://www.tkb.org
REMEMBER: Antiterrorism and Force Protection is EVERYONE'S job.
The 138th Fighter Wing Antiterrorism Officer is Capt. Christopher Rogalski, 833-7835.