October 2, 2009 9:46:00 AM
It''s all about air conditioning, rest rooms and repelling terrorist attacks.
Thursday Columbus Air Force Base unveiled its newly reconstructed south gate in a small ceremony attended by base brass.
Col. Roger Watkins, wing commander at CAFB, said the new gate has a little something for everyone.
For base residents and employees, the two-lane design and 20-foot ceiling offer a spacious driveway. Gate guards get air conditioning and rest rooms, both accommodations previously unavailable in the old gate. And the base receives up-to-date protection.
"Since 9/11 we''ve done a lot to evaluate the protective measures that we have, both on our installation and getting on and off our installation. The gate was originally built when the base was built in the 40s and upgraded a couple of times, but by and large, it was 50 years old. So it didn''t meet the standards post-9/11," said Watkins.
The new gate, he says meets all current anti-terrorism force protection requirements.
The Department of Defense gate guards, who took over gate-keeping duties shortly following the major U.S. military deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, are likely more thankful to have a climate-controlled building with running water and an exterior roof.
"This, obviously, will protect them from the rain and wind and whatever bad weather we have in addition to them being able to stay on post," said Watkins.
Watkins says CAFB''s military police will resume duties at both gates after military forces are withdrawn from the Middle East.
Construction will soon begin on CAFB''s east, or front, gate, which will be even larger than the south gate with a commercial vehicle inspection bay.
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