In the dimly lit café in Fairview, Mass., Mary Ann Hickey, a pretty blonde in a tight-fitting dress, had no trouble at all striking up a conversation with an off-duty airman from nearby Westover Air Force Base.
Later, Mary Ann tapped lightly at the door of a nearby motel cabin and was quickly admitted. A half dozen men awaited her.
No one on the base—except the commander—knew of their presence.
Here’s how the team works. A few days before the actual penetration is to start, the team leader phones the base commander that his team is in position and gives the commander a code name and phone number for the team command post, which is manned as long as the team operates. This is necessary to prevent enemy agents from posing as teams and playing for real. Air police and security forces are never informed. SAC plays the game in earnest.
They are divided into two groups; air police, who man gates, run traffic, check identifications, and issue badges; and the special, larger group assigned directly to security—protecting aircraft, weapons, fuel, supplies, and combat crews—in a word, combat capability.
Says Colonel Murphy: “Every coroner of the security setup is linked by phone or radio to Central Security Control Center, where a highly trained, sabotage-alert team is on duty twenty-four hours a day. Any call for help from sensitive areas and this team responds in its special vehicle … like firemen answering an alarm.”
Ready for all contingencies, including such problems as stalled vehicles, jammed radios, busy telephone lines, or even capture of Central Control, Colonel Murphy’s forces, like those at other SAC bases, operate on two assumptions: 1. That “it can happen here.” 2. That, as the colonel puts it, “One man with a rifle, arriving in time, is far more effective than fifty with machine guns who get there just five minutes too late.”
Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
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