Security Forces cautions motorists entering, exiting gate
By Chrissy Cuttita, 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 12, 2006
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Since 9/11, security at Air Force base gates has continued to be "beefed up" like the newly constructed Sabre Gate here.
"Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices are a real threat to any installation and are frequently used by terrorists," said Capt. Michael Bernatt, 325th Security Forces Squadron operations officer. "Spike strips are designed to disable any vehicle attempting unauthorized access to the installation and are our first line of defense in force protection."
DoD installations installed spikes and other barriers at their gates for this reason.
"Many terrorist attacks utilized vehicles, so the spikes were put in place to stop vehicles from forcibly entering the base and to prevent people from entering Sabre Gate the wrong way," said 2nd Lt. Vernon Frazier, 325th SFS plans and programs officer in charge.
Adding the extra precaution helps exiting traffic flow through the base more smoothly and conveniently.
At Tyndall, posts were installed at the main gate to provide the DoD recommended serpentine traffic pattern going into and out of base. During the reconstruction of the Sabre Gate, similar posts and spike stripes were installed simultaneously.
With the added obstacles at the gates, Security Forces is urging motorists to drive carefully when entering and exiting the base.
"The signs posted at the exit to Sabre Gate say five mph, however, some motorists may need to drive even slower to prevent rubbing spikes on the underside of their vehicles," said Captain Bernatt. "We coordinated with 325th Civil Engineering Squadron and the spikes are Department of Transportation compliant and safe."
After a survey done of motorists exiting the gate, the 325th SFS found that drivers speeding in excess of the limit had problems with spikes rubbing their vehicles' undercarriage.
"When a vehicle exiting the base drives over the spike strip, it lowers into the ground, allowing the vehicle to pass without incident," said Master Sgt. John Kelley, 325th SFS installation security NCO in charge. "If a vehicle passes over the spikes going too fast, the vehicle suspension doesn't have time to adjust to the compression of going over a speed bump. This causes the spikes to rub on the undercarriage."
The bottom line is that while Tyndall is working hard at protecting its gates, its personnel need to be aware of security precautions, take heed and patiently work with Security Forces.
"We are asking motorists to drive safely," said Captain Bernatt. "Do not attempt to swerve around the strips or drive over the strips at an angle. Driving over the spikes strips at an angle or backing up over them will result in damage to the vehicles. If you have lowered your vehicle or you know your vehicle sits lower to the ground because of performance modifications, then we are asking drivers to slow down and be extremely careful while driving over the spikes."