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Lesson 2-6 Travel

Traveling is one of the most opportune times for a terrorist attack. You are the most vulnerable and predictable in the morning as you enter or leave your quarters, your place of work, or your vehicle. Your understanding and application of the following information can reduce your chances of becoming a victim of a terrorist attack while traveling:

General Precautions
Remain alert; travel in groups or pairs in well-lighted, busy areas.
Watch your luggage at all times. Use concealed bag tags.
Establish alternate routes from each starting place to each destination. Make sure at least one person you work with and someone in your family are aware of these routes and the approximate time it takes you to travel these routes.
Keep travel arrangements confidential as much as possible.
Avoid using rank or military addresses on tickets, travel documents, and hotel reservations.
Make a copy of the following and place in different pieces of luggage: passport, ID card, and official papers. If lost or stolen, these items can be replaced at a U.S. Embassy, Consulate or military facility.
Register with the U.S. Embassy upon arrival in country either in person or via phone. Carry a card that has the location and phone number of U.S. military facilities and the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in the area. These are vital safehavens during emergencies.
Maintain a low profile. Do not discuss your U.S. government affiliation with any other passengers.
Get a detailed briefing from the Force Protection/S-2/intelligence officer on the cities you plan to visit. The briefing should include the threat, the safest routes to use, safehavens, areas to avoid, and anything else pertaining to your mission and safety.
Avoid using public transportation. Buses and trains are preferred to a taxi. If you must travel in a taxi, specify the route you want the taxi driver to take and look for the photo identification or license to ensure that the photo matches the driver.

Learn common phrases and greetings and how to ask for assistance or help in the local language.
Know how to use public phones and carry enough change (in the local currency) to make a phone call. Calling cards can be used in many countries also.
Learn the names and phone numbers of persons to contact at your destination, including emergency numbers.

Safeguards while Driving

Park your car for easy escape (pointed outwards).
Lock your car and garage when you park overnight. Alternate use of parking garages if possible. Park in well lighted areas if you must park on the street.
Walk to your car with keys in hand, ready to use.
Perform a quick internal and external check of car. See appendix A for vehicle bomb check.
Start your car immediately after conducting your vehicle bomb search. Do this before you adjust your seat or mirrors. You should be prepared for rapid escape if necessary.
Lock your doors and keep your windows up.
Wear your seatbelt.
Avoid traveling alone and during late hours. Know where the dangerous areas in the city are and avoid them.
Travel only on busy, well-traveled thoroughfares, especially routes that allow speeds over 25 mph. Most attacks occur in stop and go traffic. Avoid one-way streets and other choke points such as bridges, traffic circles, and narrow alleyways. Avoid isolated secondary roads.

Enter and exit your vehicle at busy locations.
Know en route safehavens such as police and fire stations, military posts, and checkpoints you can drive to. If you feel you are being followed, donít go directly home.
Avoid carrying classified material. If driving, lock classified materials in the trunk.
Varying times and routes driving to and from work.
If possible, use different building entrances and exits.
Keep your vehicle in good mechanical condition and your gas tank at least half full. Ensure you have a locking gas cap.
Keep safety equipment (e.g., cellular phone, fire extinguisher) inside your vehicle in good working order. Consider carrying a survival kit.

(See MCRP 3-02F/FM 21-76, Survival.)

Avoid driving close behind other vehicles or in any situation where you can get boxed in or forced to a curb. Have an evasive plan ready. Sometimes making a simple U-turn is enough to get you out of danger.
Keep at least one-half car length of empty space in front of your vehicle when stopped at traffic signals and stop signs. This gives you room to escape in a kidnapping or armed attack/assassination attempt.
Never pick up hitchhikers.
In an emergency, drive on flat tires until reaching a well-lighted, well-traveled area or safehaven.

In the event of mechanical failure, set out warning triangles/ flares, raise the hood, activate emergency flashers, and stay inside. If someone stops to offer assistance, ask them to notify the police or road service. If you feel unsure of the situation, donít get out of the car until the police or road service arrives. If you feel threatened by strangers, stay in the car with the doors locked. Use vehicleís horn to attract attention.

Safeguards while Walking

Be alert to the possibility of surveillance. Before leaving a building or mode of transportation, check up and down the street for suspicious looking cars or individuals.
Walk facing traffic at all times.
Walk on the center of the sidewalk, this allows you to see around corners. Walking next to the street affords someone the opportunity to push you out into the street.
Remain alert when walking across alley entrances or other places where a terrorist could be hiding.
Walk only in lighted areas. Avoid bad sections of town.
Avoid walking in noisy areas; e.g., a construction site.
Stay near people. Donít walk in isolated areas; e.g., alleys.
Avoid hostile crowds by turning back or crossing the street.
If you suspect you are being followed, move as quickly as possible to a safehaven (e.g., police station or government office).
Safeguards while Flying
If possible, buy your ticket at the last possible moment to prevent unauthorized personnel from finding out about your travel plans.

Choose flights that will route you through an airport with a history of good security measures.
Avoid countries, airports or airlines that are currently targets of terrorist organizations. Direct flights are best. If possible use military air, military charter or

U.S. flag carriers.

Arrive early. Donít loiter near the ticket counter, luggage check-in or security area. Go through security as quickly as possible to the boarding area. Only use shops, restaurants, and lounges in the security area, not the main terminal.
Buy your ticket at a travel agency that offers you seat selection and gives you a boarding pass when you buy your ticket. Ask for a window seat near the center of the aircraft. Terrorists generally select passengers for abuse that are sitting in more easily accessible aisle seats.
Donít let your carry-on luggage out of your sight and donít agree to ďwatchĒ someone elseís luggage.
Keep your eyes open for any suspicious activity such as an individual who gets up and leaves behind bags, packages, etc. If you see something suspicious, get out of the area quickly and report it to airport security officials!
Stay within the restricted or boarding areas of the airport, or leave the airport if possible or practical when you have a long layover for several hours.
No matter where you are in the terminal, identify objects suitable for cover in the event of an attack. Pillars, trash cans, luggage, large planters, counters and furniture can provide some protection.
Sit with your back against a wall, facing the crowd to give you greater awareness to your surroundings.
Avoid seats in first class.

Count the number of seats to the closest emergency exit so that you will be able to find your way out in case the lights go out, or if the compartment fills with smoke.
Avoid telling other passengers that you are in the military or otherwise confiding in them. On a foreign carrier, avoid speaking English as much as possible.
Inform someone of your destination and get in the habit of checking in with them before you depart and after you reach your destination. This could provide authorities with a starting point if you should become missing.
At the first indication of a hijacking, hide all documents, identification cards, and official passports that could identify you as military.

Safeguards while Staying in Hotels

Stay at DOD facilities whenever possible for security.
Request another room if one has been reserved for you. Do not give your room number to strangers.
Avoid street-level rooms. Ask for a room between the second and eighth floors. This puts you high enough to avoid easy access from the outside and still be low enough for local fire equipment to reach.
Check before exiting from an elevator or your room for objects that seem out of place or for strangers who seem to be loitering.
Answer the hotel phone with hello, not your name.
Never answer hotel paging. If you are expecting someone, go to the lobby, but donít go to the desk and identify yourself, check to see if the caller is whom you are waiting for.
Keep your room key on you at all times. Donít leave a copy of your room key on your key chain for the parking attendants.

Be careful answering the door. First, check to see who it is through the peep hole or side window and arrange knock signals with your traveling companions.
Watch for anyone loitering in halls, lobbies, or public areas or for anyone carrying objects that could be used as a weapon.
Vary your arrival and departure times.
Vary how you enter and exit the building; e.g., use a hotelís entrance as well as its elevators and stairwells.
Know where emergency exits and fire extinguishers are located.
Avoid frequent exposure on windows and balconies. Keep your room draperies closed. Conduct business in your room, not in the lobby or hallways.
Inspect your room thoroughly upon entering. Keep your room and personal effects neat and orderly. This practice helps you recognize tampering or strange, out-of-place objects.
Place a piece of tape on the door crack or a string in the door jam. If it has moved while you were out, you will know that someone has entered your room during your absence.
Lock the door and use the chain.
Place the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door.
Avoid maid service and never admit a stranger to your room.
Consider purchasing a portable door alarm, this will awaken you if someone attempts to enter while you are sleeping.
Place a large screw into the space between the door and the door frame, this will delay anyoneís entry into the room.

Leave the lights, television or radio on when you are out of the room to give the appearance that someone is still there.
Find out if the hotel has security guards; if so, determine how many, their hours of duty, equipment they use, their expertise, and how to locate them by phone and in person.
Do not discuss travel plans over hotel phones. The lines could be ďbugged.Ē
Do not take the first taxi in line when leaving your hotel and donít allow strangers to direct you to a specific cab.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

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All Rights Reserved

Revised: June 06, 2015