Fairchild Air Force Base has raised its security level a notch as part of a worldwide alert for U.S. military and diplomatic bases.
Base representatives said there is no specific threat to Fairchild as a result of Sunday’s fatal assault on Osama bin Laden. As a precaution, though, the base’s “force protection condition” went from Alpha to Bravo.
That’s two steps up from normal, which Fairchild hasn’t seen since the devastating Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by bin Laden’s al Qaida terrorist organization.
Among other changes, the Alpha security designation requires more scrutiny of visitors at Fairchild’s main gate and barriers to keep vehicles farther from buildings. There are two higher levels, Charlie and Delta.
Delta would require a complete lockdown of the base, as happened after 9-11.
The heightened security will be maintained until further notice, according to Air Force Reserve Maj. Angela O’Connell, the base’s deputy chief of public affairs.
“We are asking all the Spokane community and our airmen to be vigilant,” O’Connell said.
She and other spokesmen said they didn’t know whether Fairchild airmen had any role in the airborne assault on bin Laden’s compound at Abbottabad, Pakistan.
They weren’t allowed to share their thoughts about the action, but Tech. Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski said the 9-11 attacks motivated many to join the Air Force.
He said more than half of current Air Force personnel have enlisted since the deadly attacks in 2001.
“I am one of those individuals,” Buzanowski said. “Three weeks after 9-11, I was in the recruiter’s office.”