Vicksburg, Miss. (Aug. 9, 2019) – Col. Ivan Beckman conducted an Anti-Terrorism Awareness Proclamation Signing event August 5, 2019, to kick off Anti-Terrorism Awareness Month at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center. The event was coordinated with Warren Grant, ERDC security officer and level II anti-terrorism officer.
As an expression of ERDC’s commitment with other Vicksburg Corps entities and the community, leaders from the Mississippi Valley Division (MVD), the Vicksburg District (MVK), Vicksburg Police, the Vicksburg Fire Department, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and the Vicksburg Mayor’s Office were invited to sign with Beckman and ERDC Director Dr. David Pittman.
Representing Maj. Gen. Toy from MVD was Johnny Kisner, command security officer; Maj. Frank R. DuVerger III, deputy commander of MVK also attended; Sheriff Martin Pace, Warren County, was present, along with Chief Craig Danczyk, Vicksburg Fire Department.
“Vicksburg is an amazing community,” Beckman said. “Even though terrorist threats aren’t an everyday occurrence, that doesn’t mean we should be any less vigilant.
“Although 9/11 happened well in the past, I remember that day like it was yesterday.”
He said that everyone remembers where they were on that day in 2001, when the terror attacks took place in New York, Virginia and in the air over Pennsylvania.
“If you see something ⸺ say something,” he said, sharing the phrase used by the Department of Homeland Security and the Army to remind people they should alert authorities if they see anything suspicious.
Calling attention to the fact that terrorism can be initiated by domestic as well as foreign aggressors, he said, “Especially in view of the tragic domestic terrorism events that took place over the weekend in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, we feel that this event is especially appropriate today.
“According to a Government Accounting Office report, since September 11, 2001, there have been 85 acts of terrorism in the U.S. Two hundred twenty-five deaths: bombings, shootings, vehicular homicides, and chemical weapons.
“Although we set aside August as Antiterrorism Awareness Month, we must remain vigilant throughout the year.”
The Proclamation was read out loud to the signees, and Beckman invited the guests to sign in the spirit of unity as leaders of the Corps, the Army, law enforcement and the community.
Immediately afterwards, everyone was offered the opportunity to comment. “We appreciate the partnership,” Pace said. “I grew up riding my bicycle through this installation and fishing in the lake. The partnership that we enjoy now with ERDC is remarkable and somewhat unique. Hank (McDevitt, deputy to the commander) has been a big part of that, and we certainly appreciate that.”
Danczyk said, “I was a student out here in the early ‘90s and Dr. Beth Fleming was my last supervisor here…ERDC is a cornerstone of our community, and I know the talent here is so deep and wide ⸺ it’s a pleasure to partner with ERDC and everybody who makes up this great organization.
“I think it’s not a matter of if, it’s when, and we all have to prepare for some terrorism event,” he later added.
DuVerger said MVK is eager to be part of the solution throughout the year.
“We’ve worked closely with the security team in the past and will continue to do so; we have a very strong bond in our anti-terrorism programs,” Kisner said.
Pittman closed his comments by saying, “This is the biggest Corps of Engineers town in the world, and we’re proud to be a part of the Vicksburg and Warren County communities. We’re much stronger when we work together.”
“I feel that our partnership is as strong as it’s ever been and I want to see it continue to grow,” Beckman said.