In the times in which we live it has become somewhat dangerous, and we live under the threat of terrorism constantly. We see that millions of dollars have been spent, under the guise of “force protection,” to upgrade the entrance gates to our bases here on Okinawa. All this makes me wonder how significant of a threat we honestly face?

I mean, if we have a certifiable threat, why are we not given information and statistics on just how many terrorists have been caught with the new gates and how many vehicles have been caught with bombs trying to gain entrance to our bases? Shouldn’t we be appraised of this information so we could better protect our families?

Seriously, now personnel under the status-of-forces agreement are required to drive around in vehicles clearly tagged with “A” “B” “E” or “Y” on their license plates, to which a terrorist would have to say, “Thank you so much for identifying my potential targets!”

Taking the last sentence a bit farther, they require our officers to display “0” (zero) on their windshields (talk about painting a bull’s-eye) and senior officers, colonels/captains display eagles, generals display stars and our top enlisted get a red stripe and chevron to let anyone know the best targets of opportunity. Is there an equation here that says spend millions on security and a couple of bucks to mark the prime targets?

I made a suggestion a few years ago that those distinguishing decals be eliminated (saves a bunch of money) and, if there was an overpowering need to brand oneself, let the appropriate emblem be sealed up in plastic (like an ID card) and displayed on the dash, where it could also be removed easily so the terrorist wouldn’t be able to make identification a thousand yards away.

Master Sgt. John Bowers (retired)


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