Wednesday, September 11, 2013

11 September, 2001

We all have ways of remembering that day in American history, and how it may have changed our lives.

Mine changed, but not for the obvious reasons.

I was on leave, doing paperwork to accept a 15-year retirement option that the Air Force was offering to get their manpower numbers down.  (This was during a drawdown phase)

My leave was cancelled, and I was recalled to base, which by the time I arrived was in FPCON Delta per the installation commander.  He chose Delta because of the base's primary role as HQ for the USAF Space Program and Shuttle support, and also because the biggest and most sensitive tenant unit was within feet of the Atlantic Ocean and US Highway A1A.

I was assigned to that tenant unit, but we also did everything by the FPCON Delta book.  24 hour security operations (for an organization that was already TS/SCI) became the norm, with lookouts doing patrols, and others stationed on the roof with NVGs. I pulled NVG duty a few nights, it was fun, especially when we spotted an amorous couple sans clothing on the beach and sent a Humvee with .50 caliber turret to investigate.  A1A was completely closed, and huge sand-filled barricades were positioned between the highway and the building in the event an explosives-laden semi truck managed to get close enough.

The building eventually got a kevlar/composite false wall constructed on the ocean and highway facing side, and Highway A1A reopened.  The lack of customer access killed a few businesses down the highway in the process, but things returned to normal for the most part.

I got Stop-Lossed, twice.  I wasn't released from Stop Loss until well into my 16th year of military service.  The early retirement option went away, as the DoD ramped up to fight terrorism.  I retired nearly 5 (very busy) years later, while the Global War on Terrorism continued.  I don't know if it will ever end, truthfully. 

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