Many folks coming onto Fort Bragg were greeted by the new-normal Monday when they found long waits just to get to the All-American Expressway Access Control Point.
Gone were the additional Soldiers who assisted in balancing security and moving traffic through quickly. Gone were the two- to three-minute waits to get through the ACP. Gone were driversí daily routines and expectations.
In their place was traffic backed up three miles, irritated drivers, short patience and anger directed toward the guards at the ACP. Perhaps the biggest irritant was a change to daily routines.
Just so you know, this all came about when the garrison was directed to reduce its borrowed military manpower, even if that meant some services had to be reduced.
More than 20 Soldiers were dropped from BMM so they could train with their units. This makes sense when you think about it. No one ever joined the Army so they could work at an ACP.
No doubt many are thinking why not employ more civilian security guards, have the military police man the ACPs or get Warrior Transition Battalion service members to work them. None of these ideas work.
The number of civilian security guards we need on Fort Bragg, including at the ACPs, out-number those we are authorized. The MPs are already stretched thin with training for deployments and patrolling throughout the installation. By the way, if folks on the installation would slow down and pay attention to safe driving habits maybe some of the MPs would be freed up from traffic patrols. As for the WTB service members, their duty is to rehab, not replace BMM.
The one thing that will directly affect the back up at the All-American ACP is drivers changing their daily routines.
Try different routes onto post. Leave earlier or just be ready with your ID card when you get to the ACP.
Our staff started changing from the All-American ACP to Honeycutt, Randolph, Butner and Reilly roads ACPs. They said, traffic at those ACPs were fine. One even said he was able to cut his drive time by five minutes.
From Bragg Boulevard and Murchison Road you have direct access to four different ACPs: Knox, Honeycutt, Randolph and Butner, and both Bragg Boulevard and Murchison Road are easy to get to if you normally take All-American Expressway.
You can also change from the All-American Expressway to Yadkin Road and use that ACP. Probably not a great choice but something to think about.
If you are coming from the Gates Four area, you can take Reilly Road or Chicken Road via Wayside and Plank roads. You can even get to Longstreetís ACP in a round-about-way.
A friend of mine who still takes the All-American left for work 15 minutes earlier. Yes, there was a back-up but not nearly as long as on Monday or Tuesday, and he made it to work on time.
We all know when we get to any ACP we have to show our Department of Defense identification card or pass. From what our security staff tells me, you would be surprised how many drivers have to fish around for it when they get to the ACP. Not having your ID card ready is like putting your parachute on after you left the plane. Not a recommended course of action.
The bottom line is you have to change your daily routine.
Lastly, donít take your frustrations out on the ACP guards. Your failure to plan ahead is not their fault.