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Protect yourself off base: wear civvies

Situational awareness is foundational teaching to all Airmen and military members. The teaching suggests one of the most effective ways a service member can lower the chances he or she could be targeted is to refrain from wearing his or her uniform in public on personal time. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

Situational awareness is foundational teaching to all Airmen and military members. The teaching suggests one of the most effective ways a service member can lower the chances he or she could be targeted is to refrain from wearing his or her uniform in public on personal time. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- For team 5-0 members, personal safety outside the workplace is as much of a concern as it is inside.

Daily news updates via our information chains about targeting of military members, issued threats and various crimes remind service members that local communities do not guarantee safety.

It is suggested that one of the most effective ways a service member can lower the chances she could be targeted would be to refrain from wearing her uniform in public on her personal time.

"Due to the current Force Protection Condition and the standing ISIS threat to military members, it would be prudent that military members only wear their uniforms to and from their duty locations," said Senior Master Sgt. Ronald Samsel, 50th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent. "I recommend that they do not make any stops where they could be identified, or targeted by anyone who may be considering ill will towards the military in general."

Master Sgt. Colby Jackson, Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force manager, explained that wearing your uniform off-base highlights you to potential adversaries.

"It makes you more of a target," said Jackson. "Any time you are dealing with terrorists, they're looking for targets."

Jackson offered some safety practices for service members commuting to and from work.

"If you can, change at work," he said. "If you have to wear your uniform to and from work, go straight home or straight to work. Don't sidetrack too much or at all if you can help it. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings."

Jackson's last assignment was in Korea, where refraining from wearing one's uniform off base was a common established safety policy.

Samsel explained there are any number of potential threats to military members wearing their uniforms off of the installation. 

"In today's rapidly changing environment, disgruntled employees, potential terrorists and people looking for their '15 minutes of fame' could target individuals in a military uniform to get attention," said Samsel.  

Situational awareness is a foundational teaching to all Airmen and military members in general. Jackson closed with a word of advice for fellow Airmen.

"If I could give Airmen advice, I would tell them to be ever vigilant with their actions," said Jackson. "Don't get lackadaisical. Remember the training you go through - be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to what is going on."
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