Friday, November 6, 2009

N.J. military bases heighten security in wake of Fort Hood tragedy, and a brief perspective

I write this afternoon with a heavy heart in the wake of the horrific killings at Fort Hood, TX.

Merely to inform our readers, the McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst base has increased security measures, according to this brief from the Times of Trenton, in the wake of the horrific scene at Fort Hood, Texas. We have yet to learn whether changes have been made in the security protocols at our nearby bases Naval Weapons Station Earle and Fort Monmouth.

NOPE wishes to reiterate heartfelt condolences to all of those witnessed to the tragedy and remind our supporters that local service members at Earle and Fort Monmouth are the fabric of our community and history. My kids share classrooms with kids of those stationed here. Many of the leaders of NOPE either dutifully served in the military or worked at one of the nearby bases, and the thought of a Fort Hood-like incident here in Monmouth County is devastating. We have much to appreciate about our local military presence.

It is unfortunate, but the largely uncovered (by the media) product of NOPE's objection to proposed civilian housing and unimpeded civilian access at NWS Earle has to do with the safety of service members at the base. As difficult as it is to swallow that a military officer would turn a weapon on his brethren is beyond our civilian realm of comprehension, what readers can take from this tragedy locally, perhaps, is that the protection and quality-of-life issues of service members (i.e. good housing and family care, healthcare, e.g. PTSD awareness and rehabilitation) on U.S. military bases needs a much closer, more-urgent look from our legislators and military leaders.

We, Americans, too often take our freedoms for granted, without engaging in matters critical to those behind the lines. Let us not only turn our thoughts to those grieving the Fort Hood killings, but remember to do all that we can locally to assist those who are making enormous sacrifices as members of the U.S. Military.

Bill Holobowski,
NOPE Chairman

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