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markg
06-06-2008, 11:52 AM
I'm beginning to think I look like a terrorist and that's why I get hassled so much.

Went to McGuire on Sunday, got there by 9am and was wandering round the static, writing down serial numbers and taking photographs. I got to the Skytypers and was writing down the regs. and noticed a couple of younger AF/ANG members watching me. As I passed them I acknowledged them and continued walking.

I then stopped by the E-3 talking to Neil Humphreys a fellow ex-pat. After we said our farewells, I took a couple of shots of the E-3. As I put my camera down I noticed a camo uniform reflecting in the LCD screen and realized that it was very close. I turned round and there's a guy stood right next to me.

He asked for my ID, so I produced my driver's license and he started scribbling details down on a scrap of paper. Then it was time for all the stupid questions-what, why, where etc.
He then asked me to go stand by the concrete barriers close to the security checkpoint near the hangar. He told me to wait and he would be back. He wandered off then got on his cellphone. After about 10 minutes he came back and wanted to know my SS# where I was born and if the address on my license was current.

I then took the opportunity to ask what I had done wrong. He replied that I had done nothing wrong, but someone had pointed me out to him and he had to check me out, because if anything happened and he hadn't checked me out then he would be asked for an explanation. I told him I understood that, but it was supposedly a public event and there were going to be more people doing the same thing all day. He again said, "you've done nothing wrong, and you will be leaving here today, but I have to do my job" He then handed me back my license and tod me to have a good day.

Now I'm sorry, but this infuriated me. If the AF/ANG don't know what someone is doing, partaking in a hobby, then it's time they were sent to Mildenhall, Lakenheath and Ramstein and shown people out there every day of the week with notebooks and cameras as part of their training.

While I don't fault the guy who questioned me, the two people that pointed me out to him, need to get with it, and stop presuming everyone is a terrorist. In case they have forgotten, this is the USA, not Iraq or Afghanistan, and last time I checked it was a free country. I think next year I will go to the Moscow Airshow and see if I get the same treatment there!

Rant over!!

lijk604
06-06-2008, 01:41 PM
Simple question...if you had a camera, why not take pictures of the serial #'s? Then noone can say you were taking "suspicious notes." Lots of folks had cameras there, I'm sure they didn't harass everyone.

PhilDernerJr
06-06-2008, 02:05 PM
I think it's ridiculous for them to confront you AT AN AIRSHOW. If they feel that you're writing is a threat, then photos would have to be way more threatening. Stupid.

markg
06-06-2008, 02:47 PM
Simple question...if you had a camera, why not take pictures of the serial #'s? Then noone can say you were taking "suspicious notes." Lots of folks had cameras there, I'm sure they didn't harass everyone.

Because I didn't want photos of everything there, only the transport/airliner stuff, but I collect the serials of everything.

It's the first time anyone has ever said anything at an airshow, and I was writing down serials in front of other military personnel, so I guess it was the 2 younger personnel who wanted to be heroes, kind of like the younger TSA trainees who reported me at the inside viewing deck at BWI back in 2003!

T-Bird76
06-06-2008, 05:27 PM
What a bunch of BS...I seriously would have asked to speak to his Commanding Officer.. His comment about you leaving the base is also very threatening... You did nothing wrong that he could have even thought about detaining you.

Mateo
06-06-2008, 05:31 PM
I was questioned at McGuire last year also, as was pretty much anyone who took pictures of the static F-22 from more than one angle. It was the standard "who are you and what are you doing interview," but between that experience, and the year before at Dover when I was detained and questioned for over an hour for looking at the row of parked C-5s through binoculars, I'm very skittish when going to airshows now, and I HATE that. I find myself keeping one eye on the show, one eye on the displays, and one eye scanning for undercover OSI goons while furtively scribbling in my notebook. But, no, the terrorists can't be allowed to win.

Steven Holzinger
06-06-2008, 08:49 PM
What a complete %#&*ing idiot (sorry for the language). I think the MP was on a power trip... for God's sake - I even took about half a dozen pictures of that same E-3 - that same day, as well as on Friday and Saturday - and nobody said anything to me. What is there, externally, on the E-3 that is so classified? The registration? The rotodome? The fact that it's powered by TF-33s? It amazes me sometimes... it's just an AWACS that's (most likely) almost 30 years old and the fact that it's from Elmendorf AFB is just awesome. The "you will be leaving here today" seemed like a threat to me.

End AWACS rant.

I took a picture of an MH-60S Knighthawk at NAS Oceana in 2007... this was when I was getting type, squadron/wing, and registration for my airshow reports. One of the crew members went up to me and asked me - in a real mean demeanor - why I took a picture of the BuNo. I told him "I wanted to know which helicopter I saw." Thankfully nothing else happened out of it... no pictures deleted, no military police cracking down on me like I'm a protester on the wing of an F-22 (yes, that did happen!).

Funny thing about F-22s and F-117s... back when F-117s ruled Holloman AFB and airshows, you were not allowed to take pictures of the rear of the aircraft and not allowed to take pictures of the underside of the aircraft (where the weapons bay is). For the last year of F-117 operations, the rule was relaxed where you could take pictures of the rear of the aircraft, but from at least 20 feet away. You're not allowed to take pictures of the intakes and the rear of the F-22 (I did at McGuire last year - before they got MPs blocking the rear of the jet), but they open up ALL of the weapons bays... "hey we have nothing to hide!"

End rants.

cancidas
06-06-2008, 08:56 PM
who was this person? was he AF/ANG or was this an why did you just hand over your id to him and let him walk off with it? me, i would have an issue with the dude standing close enough to reflect in my cameras LCD screen. i can understand the sensativity of certain airplanes, and i can understand the need for people to do as they're ordered to do but there is no need to approach a person in a threathening manner. that only leads to more problems that are unnecessary. i'll stop here, but those who know me well know what i'm talking about. i can't help it, i grew up in brooklyn.

one thing i've learned from FAA inspectors is never to surrender any for of documentation. if asked to present it then do so, especially to an authority. but make a point to SHOW them the id and not GIVE it to anyone. simply hold on to it.

tommy, i doubt that the request to see the guy's CO would go far, if anywhere.

USAF Pilot 07
06-08-2008, 10:53 AM
When you set foot on a military base you set foot on a federal military installation and are subject to random search and questioning. There are signs clearly detailing this. While security measures are certainly loosened for large events (such as airshows) they do not not just simply become null and void.

Bottom line is that you were slightly inconvenienced. Someone saw you doing something a little of out the ordinary, they voiced their concerns, someone checked it out, and you were good to go. I don't really see where the problem lies.

When you're doing something out-of-the ordinary for more than 99% of the general population, you have to expect at least somewhat to be scrutinized and questioned. It's the outcome of the situation that should become the issue. In this case, sounds like other than losing a few minutes of your day, everything went well, and you were FREE to keep on doing whatever it was that you were doing.

I would much rather have someone report something they find suspicious and have the appropriate officials check out the situation and come to a combination of common-sense/legal course-of-action, than to have citizens afraid to report anything because they may hurt someone's feelings or cost someone a few minutes of their day.

As for the cop saying "you've done nothing wrong and you will be leaving here today", I think you all are taking this out of context. To me, it sounds more like "listen man, someone complained, I have to check it out, don't worry though you'll be fine"... He probably could have been a little more "tactful" in his statement though.

emshighway
06-08-2008, 11:43 AM
When you set foot on a military base you set foot on a federal military installation and are subject to random search and questioning. There are signs clearly detailing this. While security measures are certainly loosened for large events (such as airshows) they do not not just simply become null and void.

Bottom line is that you were slightly inconvenienced. Someone saw you doing something a little of out the ordinary, they voiced their concerns, someone checked it out, and you were good to go. I don't really see where the problem lies.

When you're doing something out-of-the ordinary for more than 99% of the general population, you have to expect at least somewhat to be scrutinized and questioned. It's the outcome of the situation that should become the issue. In this case, sounds like other than losing a few minutes of your day, everything went well, and you were FREE to keep on doing whatever it was that you were doing.

I would much rather have someone report something they find suspicious and have the appropriate officials check out the situation and come to a combination of common-sense/legal course-of-action, than to have citizens afraid to report anything because they may hurt someone's feelings or cost someone a few minutes of their day.

As for the cop saying "you've done nothing wrong and you will be leaving here today", I think you all are taking this out of context. To me, it sounds more like "listen man, someone complained, I have to check it out, don't worry though you'll be fine"... He probably could have been a little more "tactful" in his statement though.

Agreed

Tom_Turner
06-08-2008, 12:10 PM
Its an Airshow with static displays.

People bring cameras.

Sounds like a no-brainer.

Sorry, but my opinion is don't have an Open House if you can't handle it professionally.

Tom

Gerard
06-08-2008, 03:08 PM
. He again said, "you've done nothing wrong, and you will be leaving here today, but I have to do my job" He then handed me back my license and tod me to have a good day.

He was right, you would be leaving that day!!! LOL!! You really shouldnt let it bother you. Remember like another poster wrote, you are on a military/govt facility
and subject to their regulations. If that is the most you got hassled so be it. Remember, we are at WAR and under a constant terror alert so just give them a
little slack. Yeah maybe he could have had a better customer service aproach but dont let it make you nuts.

PhilDernerJr
06-08-2008, 05:33 PM
I can agree, and have always told people to just comply and go with it. But here, I just don't see how having a pen and paper can be considered suspicious. What could someone possibly be writing down or drawing that EVERYONE around them that's taking photos can't get or do? That is what makes it ridiculous.

Approaching someone is fine, but I don't see why it was done in this case.

USAF Pilot 07
06-08-2008, 08:15 PM
Its an Airshow with static displays.

People bring cameras.

Sounds like a no-brainer.

Sorry, but my opinion is don't have an Open House if you can't handle it professionally.

Tom

People bring cameras and most if not all of them are NOT hassled. Most people don't sit around an airplane recording it's registration and other info about the airplanes and take pictures of it from a million different angles. I understand this can be a foreign concept to many spotters and plane enthusiasts who live and die for airplanes, but take it from a guy who is not much of a "hardcore" spotter, this type of behavior is not exhibited by the average individual. That being said, spotting is not illegal, it can simply appear suspicious to the average individual.

I personally believe the situation was handled very professionally. In fact, I'm not sure how much more professionally this situation could have been handled - unless you believe handling a situation professionally is not to handle one at all. If a law enforcement official is approached by concerned citizens about someone's behavior, I feel they have a duty to check it out, unless said behavior is normal behavior exhibit by mainstream society. Could this security forces member have been a little more tactful? Perhaps, but neither you or I was there to witness the event.

According to this account though, at no point was the security forces member offensive or threatening. He simply asked for ID, asked some simple ID verification questions, reassured the individual involved that he had done NOTHING wrong and let him go. He was not arrested, he was not detained, he was not made fun of, he was not belittled etc.. etc...

My personal opinion is that if you cannot deal with this kind of "scrutiny" might as well never leave the house.

USAF Pilot 07
06-08-2008, 08:23 PM
I can agree, and have always told people to just comply and go with it. But here, I just don't see how having a pen and paper can be considered suspicious. What could someone possibly be writing down or drawing that EVERYONE around them that's taking photos can't get or do? That is what makes it ridiculous.



I don't know... Neither you nor I was there to witness the event. There was obviously something there that made several people concerned. I doubt the concerned individuals were like "hmm what person from this crowd can we go report as being suspicious so that we can get a good laugh". Thousands of other people there that day were taking pictures - some maybe even taking notes - and were not confronted.

I don't know either of the individuals involved in this account - or if this account is even legit (although I do believe it is). But according to this individual's account, I think the situation was handled promptly, appropriately and professionally.

Let's not forget this story is completely one-sided. We do not, nor will we probably ever have the security forces' side of the story.

Also, the security forces individual could have very easily taken the easy road and escorted this individual back to his car, and ensured he left the base; or worse even held him in the police station on base. Instead, he took the logical, common sense approach to investigate the situation and take appropriate action based on training, experience and common sense. In this case, it was a simple ID check, a few questions and a "have a nice day"....

Tom_Turner
06-08-2008, 11:18 PM
<< People bring cameras and most if not all of them are NOT hassled. Most people don't sit around an airplane recording it's registration and other info about the airplanes and take pictures of it from a million different angles. I understand this can be a foreign concept to many spotters and plane enthusiasts who live and die for airplanes, but take it from a guy who is not much of a "hardcore" spotter, this type of behavior is not exhibited by the average individual. That being said, spotting is not illegal, it can simply appear suspicious to the average individual. >>

What on earth could be the harm at the Open House? Can you answer that question? Give me a scenario and maybe I'll buy it.

If not, then that should've been the response to the person complaining in the first place.

I am not going to suggest that a situation "not" be "handled", but first you need a "situation".

I consider myself a citizen (and bunch of other things) ahead of "plane spotter", but we're a country of laws and those laws are based on rights that are not entirely centered on how close one can come to an "average behavior" standard. Thats best left for authoritarian societies.

Now, on an AFB, I can appreciate different rules will apply, but I disagree that "spotting" is suspicious to the "average individual". This is not nearly the case. Generally speaking, anywhere/anytime anyone has ever been approached by authorities of any stripe in the US [apart from cases where aggressive spotters are on private property and the like], the authorities are generally contacted after scores or dozens or hundreds of people (by definition then, well past the average) have noted the activity and whatever they thought, passed the situation by. More accurately, those rushing to the authorities to report "spotting" activities might be described as the "average" ignorant/busybody/paranoid types (albeit some may be well intentioned).

No one was bashing the guy that apparently has to "do his job", as it seems to have been presented to him, but it makes little sense here, and I think thats what was annoying folks.

I don't personally have a problem with being approached or questioned or called to account by authorities that have legitimate concerns, and for common sense purposes I will submit to it even it seems they don't, but to be held to account to any single person's irrational concerns in a large public gathering of thousands of people seems particularly unreasonable.

Is it asking too much for the person of authority responding to the "complaint", to determine from the "informant" what the offense was? If nothing can be conveyed that is innately suspicious about the alleged behavior, all we are left with is a Bureaucratic/knee-jerk cover your butt response, that is a waste of everyone's time. I wouldn't consider the questioning out of line otherwise, but at an Open House air-show, I think its pretty silly. The fact that the guy could've badly mishandled it, but managed not to, is not a virtue in my opinion. An Open House is intended (I think) to have good community relations (or encourage recruitment). So not doing something particularly obnoxious or unjustified (because he could just as easily done so) is not a reason to be glad.

<<My personal opinion is that if you cannot deal with this kind of "scrutiny" might as well never leave the house.>> :borat: Yeah, well, thats not going to work.

I have very few problems with authorities. No convictions, A 100% clean driving record, and its not because I was never pulled over or done anything wrong, but rather because I do my best to respect and obey the law, and rules, wherever I find them, and I don't give people doing their jobs grief - even if I disagree with them. When I do have a problem, I go up the chain of command after the fact, and it works out well, most of the time.

USAF Pilot 07
06-09-2008, 04:42 PM
Tom, firstly, I find many of your arguments spot-on and I agree with many of them.

While taking photos and/or video at an airshow is not abnormal behavior I believe your "average joe" would find someone hanging around an airplane writing down it's registration number and capturing other info in a notebook a little "weird". Regardless, this behavior is not illegal and is most certainly permitted. In fact there were probably many other people doing just this during the airshow, most if not all of them not hassled one bit.

That being said, neither you or I was present at the time of this incident. The account of this incident is completely one-sided. From the account, there seemed to be more than just one person alarmed by this individuals behavior. Were there more? Perhaps. For all we know, the concerned people in this case may have thought this individual was taking down anything from building layouts, access roads, government vehicles' license plate numbers, makes, models or a host of other information. While capturing this information is not illegal, it should raise suspicions as to why someone would want this. We also do not know what the demeanor of this person was at the time.
Also, for what it's worth, the E-3 was located at the end of the ramp, adjacent the "red-line" where spectators were not permitted and were "non-airshow" facilities and assets are located.

All the individual recounting this incident knows is that someone thought what he was doing was suspicious and that a security forces member was sent out to check it out. We do not have the other side of the story, so I do not think we can be so quick to judge or comment on how the situation was handled (which IMO sounded prompt and professional).

Tom_Turner
06-09-2008, 09:36 PM
Yeah, thats true, I agree.

Just last year I went to McGuire last year, and a Lyndon Air Cargo C-130 caught my eye in the distance. It wasn't part of the airshow or towed over as a static display. I was at the end of the ramp where you could walk around. No obvious barriers or red lines that I noticed, just sort of a blurring of a demarcation- probably because there were civilians - family members/guests of base personnel if I had to guess, milling around in the next dozen yards or so...

And sure *seemed* as if I could just walk a distance and get the shot I wanted, and if it had not been time to leave, it was tempting to ask someone's permission, but for the reasons you cite, I thought better of "wandering off the reservation"... :D

I actually had thought to ask earlier as well, and would've bet an even chance at success, but didn't really want to chance triggering a drawn out sequence of events if the request wasn't received well. Many times it seems you just have to play it by ear or feel. I remember being screamed at by some Air Force personnel for photographing a Stealth Fighter taxing in at Dayton air show back in 2003, but yet, despite all the signs forbidding it, remember dozens of people clicking away at a Stealth fighter static display (all angles) at Elmira back in 2001 (if I have the year right). You just never know I guess.

PhilDernerJr
06-10-2008, 01:30 AM
Sure, maybe writing down registrations is weird. But if there is no relation to terrorism, or any other kind of threat, there is no reason for that person to be approached. Just because things are weird...authorities are supposed to check IDs?

markg
06-10-2008, 09:53 AM
What a complete %#&*ing idiot (sorry for the language). I think the MP was on a power trip... for God's sake -

He wasn't an MP, he was just a four striper whatever they are!

markg
06-10-2008, 09:59 AM
[quote="Gerard"].Remember, we are at WAR and under a constant terror alert so just give them a little slack. [quote]

Sorry but that is one statement I disagree with. Hopefully in January we will see the end of this BS!

markg
06-10-2008, 10:26 AM
I deleted your quote to save bandwidth, but here I will answer some of your questions.

There were two people who saw what I was doing and who obviously pointed me out to the guy who questioned me. These two people were younger members of the AF/ANG (definitely not CAP) and were both stood together against the concrete barriers separating the static display from the parking area where the Skytypers were.

I could see from the looks they were giving me that they had "concerns" about what I was doing, and as I walked past them, I made a point to acknowledge them rather than hide my face or do a 360 and walk away from them.

My demeanor was as it always is when dealing with "officials"-calm. I didn't give the guy grief, and complied with his requests to see my ID and didn't get irate when he walked off with it, as I know that when your ID is being checked they never stand in front of you (not sure why!) The only reason I asked him what I did wrong was because I didn't know if I'd broken some unwritten rule with regards to the E-3.

If security is such an issue, how is it that anyone can walk out of the show and around the base without being challenged, or why is it that if you leave before the show is over there is nobody to point the way out. I wound up driving the length of the base to find a way out and could easily have got on the ramp where there were 2 x C-17's a KC-10 and a KC-135 were parked.

Matt Molnar
06-10-2008, 03:26 PM
Remember, we are at WAR and under a constant terror alert so just give them a little slack.
Sorry but that is one statement I disagree with. Hopefully in January we will see the end of this BS!

Lets remember that terrorists are not the only people who would be interested in closeups of military aircraft, and in fact they're probably at the bottom of the list of folks who would be. Mohammed Jihad is not going to learn how to become invisible to an E-3 by looking at it, but a Chinese or Russian spook just may.

USAF Pilot 07
06-10-2008, 04:18 PM
Lets remember that terrorists are not the only people who would be interested in closeups of military aircraft, and in fact they're probably at the bottom of the list of folks who would be. Mohammed Jihad is not going to learn how to become invisible to an E-3 by looking at it, but a Chinese or Russian spook just may.


Was just about to post the same thing...

I would not AT ALL be surprised to find foreign spies at US airshows. Even if the stuff on display is not considered "sensitive information", eyes and ears on the ground do much more justice than an aerial photograph or photos gathered off the internet. It's not far fetched to believe that we do it...

To answer's Phil's question... Again no one knew what markg was writing down. Could have been anything. If someone doesn't know what he is writing down, how can they know not to approach him?

To rebut markg's replies...

January will change nothing, regardless of who is elected. The threat of terrorism, and terrorism against military bases will always remain, regardless of who is in office. Let's not forget that it was just a year ago that the Ft. Dix Six were arrested foiling their domestic terrorist plot against Ft. Dix (adjacent to McGuire). And had not been for a concerned citizen working a $8 an hour job at BestBuy suspicious of some video footage dropped off by several men, they may have been able to carry out the attack.
Then the cries would have been "Were was all the security and scrutiny of people videotaping military movements around military bases???" It really comes down to a no-win situation for those trying to protect us, and if possibly foiling a terrorist plot involves inconveniencing a minority of individuals reported as suspicious by several people, I'm all for it.

As for your demeanor, I was not talking about when dealing with the MP, I was talking about before you were approached. To someone else, maybe you looked nervous or sly, which is why they became concerned... Again no one on here was there to give their own personal account. It sounds like you handled your encounter with the MP very well.

A personal story...

I was pulled over in Georgia about 8 months ago. My friend and I were driving from NY to Alabama, he in his car, me in mine. We were going about 85-90 in a 75 when my radar detector went off. I slowed to the speed limit, my friend in front of me didn't see me do this, and kept going. Lo-and-behold about 1/2 mile down the road we come around a curve and there's a cop sitting there in the median. My friend is for sure getting pulled over, right? I mean he's going 90 in a 75, and I'm now doing 75 in a 75 in the right lane. Guess who gets pulled over? Me. After some basic questions from the police officer, explaining that I was in the military headed down to AL for a 6 week course, he proceeds to tell me the reason I was pulled over was because I was driving an Audi, with NY license plates and tinted windows and that the interstate I was on was a known thoroughfare for people transporting drugs from down South to up North. All very true statements. While I was doing nothing wrong, nothing illegal, I was a young guy driving a fairly nice car and probably fit the profile of a stereotypical person who would be trafficking drugs. Sure I was inconvenienced by being pulled over, even if only for a few minutes, but I understood where the cop was coming from and what he was trying to do. While what he did was against the letter of the law, I personally do not fault him for being pro-active against a HUGE problem. I was doing nothing wrong, had nothing to hide, and after a few simple questions and ID verification I was FREE to go as planned.

PhilDernerJr
06-10-2008, 04:52 PM
To answer's Phil's question... Again no one knew what markg was writing down. Could have been anything. If someone doesn't know what he is writing down, how can they know not to approach him?

Ok, but not knowing what he's writing down is not enough to warrant approaching him. You would need to figure somethign that he coudl POSSIBLY be writing that would present a threat that would warrant investigating.

I don't mean to single out you or your airshow, as this is a problem we face everywhere in our hobby. However, because it's an airshow, where enthusiasts are INVITED, I find it to be somewhat offensive.

Gerard
06-10-2008, 05:52 PM
[

>Sorry but that is one statement I disagree with. Hopefully in January we will see the end of this BS<

Uh, whichever candidate is elected there will NOT be an end to whatever "BS" you refer to.

USAF Pilot 07
06-10-2008, 06:28 PM
[quote="USAF Pilot 07":3f2l10zz]To answer's Phil's question... Again no one knew what markg was writing down. Could have been anything. If someone doesn't know what he is writing down, how can they know not to approach him?

Ok, but not knowing what he's writing down is not enough to warrant approaching him. You would need to figure somethign that he coudl POSSIBLY be writing that would present a threat that would warrant investigating.

[/quote:3f2l10zz]

Again, as I stated above, he could have been writing down anything from government lic. plates with corresponding makes and models, buidling layouts, specific access ways to buildings, or a whole host of other things. Neither you or I was there to witness his demeanor prior to being confronted. Maybe he was looking around, then writing things down. He obviously did something to appear more than just an aviation enthusiast - of which there were thousands present who did not get hassled once all day. As I said before, the E-3 was on the end of the flightline, right next to the edge of the restricted area next to several large hangars, an access road to the control tower and access to fuel tanks (to name a few things). These are things he COULD have been taking note of. Unless the security forces member gets a clear view of his notebook, he has NO WAY of knowing what exactly he is taking notes of. Again, security forces are not just concerned about terrorism, but espionage becomes a HUGE concern as well. What easier way to find out what someone is doing by asking them and taking a few minutes to check them out?

I say err on the side of caution, by checking out the situation that several people reported as suspicious. While you may inconvenience someone a few minutes, at least there is a feeling of confidence that this person is not up to anything he or she ought not to be.

While the terrorists comprising the Ft. Dix Six were doing NOTHING illegal by hanging out off-base videotaping movement in and out of a military installation, an employee at a local BestBuy said "hmmm why is there so much footage of movement in and out of a military post?" and reported this to the authorities. Perhaps he should have said "Why, they are doing nothing illegal, maybe this is just a hobby that I do not know about, I should just do my job and put this video on a DVD for them." Of course, if he did this, we may have had dozens if not hundreds of dead soldiers today.




I don't mean to single out you or your airshow, as this is a problem we face everywhere in our hobby. However, because it's an airshow, where enthusiasts are INVITED, I find it to be somewhat offensive.

99.9% of the general public walked on to, and off of the base without incident. I personally apologize that this person, who was obviously not up to anything malicious, was inconvenienced for a few minutes while a security forces member checked him out after receiving concerning "complaints". The invitation was to the general public, aviation enthusiasts included, to come onto our base and enjoy the airshow. That being said, the invitation was not carte-blanche to come onto the installation and act suspiciously enough for more than one person to report you to security forces, and expect not to be at the least questioned. There were over 100,000 people at the event on Sunday, of which there were probably hundreds of aviation enthusiasts, taking photos, videos and writing down information, most of whom were not bothered.

Bottom-line is that 170,000 people attended the airshow that weekend. 99.9% of them walked on-to the flightline, enjoyed a great show and then walked off-of the flightline without incident. Each one of them was kept safe by base and local and state off-base officials. If a few individuals were singled out as being suspicious and were only inconvenienced for a few minutes I apologize, and hope their "confrontations" were handled professionally (in this case sounds like it was). I would rather have a few people confronted by authorities who received concerns from other individuals, and maybe thwart a malicious act than to just have ZERO security or scrutiny.

It's easy to view this event as a Monday morning quarterback. Yes, we all know markg was not doing anything wrong, and that he was only writing down registration numbers. It's easy after the fact to say "Well the security forces should have known he was only writing down registration numbers, and should never have bothered him, he's obviously not a terrorist". It's easy to relate many similar experiences some of us have had with law enforcement while spotting to markg's encounter. It's easy to comment and make judgments based on one-side of a story - the side that was inconvenienced. I try to look at all the issues involved, the possible and plausible scenarios first and then comment on the situation. In this case, I believe there was cause to confront markg (people reporting his actions to security forces as suspicious), and once confronted, the situation was handled promptly and professionally and within minutes markg was FREE to resume his activities.

PhilDernerJr
06-10-2008, 07:13 PM
My point is that whatever he might be writing down...is something that would better be covered taking photographs of those very things you mentioned. Yet, that's allowed (as it should be).

Regardless, your post was well-said. I do see your points. I know you can see some of the frustration on the enthusiast side.

We should always expect to get some suspicious or curious looks when practicing our hobby. I just wasn't expecting to see that at the airshow is all.

Steven Holzinger
06-10-2008, 08:43 PM
Sorry to get off-topic for a second....

But only 100,000 people on Sunday? Pretty sure there was a tad bit more... but then again, I wasn't shooting from the crowd line...

USAF Pilot 07
06-10-2008, 09:47 PM
Sorry to get off-topic for a second....

But only 100,000 people on Sunday? Pretty sure there was a tad bit more... but then again, I wasn't shooting from the crowd line...

Aerial pictures from the C-17 demo, along with some other info throughout the day indicated there were probably between 100,000 and 110,000 people there on Sunday. The official number for the weekend was 170,000 - somewhat inflated.

Big Tim #70
11-17-2008, 11:25 AM
I know this is an old post but I happened to stumble on it today.

Keep in mind that with all of your concerns with being questioned, the MP's at McGuire thwarted a potential terrorist attack this summer by aprehending a known terrorist at the main gate. My Brother inlaw was the actual MP who stopped the guy and got dragged ~200 feet when he tried to pull the guy out of his vehicle. He's OK and the suspect was taken into custody and is awaiting trial.

This happened a couple of weeks after the airshow and they had intelligence that this guy was in the area. The fact that they still had an airshow is pretty cool. We need to remember that these shows are a priviledge and not a right and we're fortunate that we get to be there. If that means I have to answer some questions, it's a small price to pay.