Worst of times brings out best in people

Maj. Andrea Begel
568th Security Forces Squadron commander

***image1***Stop what you’re doing right now as you read the KA and look up and take in your surroundings. Now imagine wherever you are sitting was rocked by an explosion —you hear car alarms going off, smell smoke, hear sirens wailing, and you see people slowly moving again — friends, neighbors, co-workers and strangers injured, some severely. Now look inside yourself. What do you do?

If we asked ourselves this question 10 years ago, most of us would not have experienced this situation in the “real world” and would merely be telling ourselves how we’d respond versus knowing because we’ve done it. But as every day passes more people know exactly how they’d respond because they’ve faced that reality. In places as diverse as Barcelona, Baghdad, Moscow, Riyadh and New York City, people know how they’d react.

An interesting change occurs in populations who have been touched by terrorism. They learn when confronted by random acts of violence, they act. And with that knowledge comes a confidence which carries over in many ways. Following 9/11, it was the norm to see citizens jump out of their cars to direct traffic at vehicle accidents until police arrived. And drivers heeded these newborn citizen police forces without a second thought. A side effect of the tragedy of terrorism has been to “deputize” an ever-growing sector of the population with not only a willingness to serve but the confidence to act swiftly and decisively.

For those readers who have been fortunate enough to avoid the violent immediacy of terrorism, take advantage of the opportunity presented by the exercises we continuously participate in throughout the KMC. Challenge yourself to stop, take in your surroundings, and instead ask yourself, “What would I do if this were real?”

Commit yourself to stepping into the fray.
As your security forces at Ramstein, you can count on us to make every effort to deter, detect and defend the installation against a terrorist attack.

We’re the ones you’ve seen during exercises trading our dark blue berets for Kevlar helmets and flak vests, and yes, even donning our gas masks — preventing you from getting to the Base Exchange at lunch, turning you away from the North Post Office and making you late for your meeting by diverting traffic away from the exercise area or implementing enhanced procedures at the gates.

We’re not interested in what uniform you wear, what rank you carry or what unit you call yours — if your enemy is terrorism, you’re part of our team.

So deputize yourself, and we’ll see you on the cordon.