Missouri military bases on heightened security

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Associated Press Writer

Missouri's two military bases were on heightened security, allowing entry to only those with authorized business after terrorist strikes in the United States.

Meanwhile, a federally appointed task force of 62 rescue workers and four dogs from Missouri were headed to New York Tuesday to assist emergency workers at the collapsed World Trade Center.

Fort Leonard Wood in Pulaski County and Whiteman Air Force Base in Johnson County -- the latter is home to the B-2 Stealth bomber -- began increasing security shortly after President Bush ordered the nation's military to "high-alert status."

Capt. Brett Ashworth, spokesman for Whiteman in Knob Noster, said he could not say whether the B-2 Stealth Bomber wing had been deployed.

"We're ready to deploy on a moment's notice, but I can't discuss whether we have or have not," Ashworth said.

The base, which is home to about 3,300 Air Force personnel, had not received any calls for humanitarian aid, he said.

A spokesman for Fort Leonard Wood did not immediately return calls Tuesday from The Associated Press. Fort Leonard Wood is headquarters for the Total Force's Maneuver Support Center. It trains soldiers in basic combat skills and chemical, engineering, military police and transportation disciplines.

Spokesman Michael Warren released a statement saying Fort Leonard Wood was closing its main entrance, allowing only those with authorized access to enter. It also was staffing the remaining gates that were open. It did not give details of any additional security measures.

Missouri Task Force One, a team of 62 people and four dogs that are part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, were deployed Tuesday afternoon to New York to aid emergency workers with the rescue and recovery of those killed or trapped in the World Trade Center rubble.

"Obviously we would like to rescue, but realistically there comes a point where you do have to embark on a recovery operation," task force spokesman Bruce Cutter said. "It's very important to the families that their loved ones are recovered."

The Missouri National Guard also was on high alert. A guard spokesman, Capt. David Dillon, said about 30 members of a military police unit in Fulton were deployed to Jefferson City. They were assigned to help patrol state office buildings, he said.

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