Friday, September 16, 2011

In light of the
Davis Monthan Lockdown

True Story

A few months ago, I was on my way to sunny California with a friend who worked at Building 4300, the Civil Engineering building at D-M, also called "The Old Dorm." We stopped outside so she could print off a copy of her insurance before the trip. I waited in the car.

A few minutes later, an airman in camouflage stuck his head out the door. Looked right. Left. Looked directly at me. He emerged, shoulders stiff and hunched, hefting an AK-47, thankfully pointed downward. I'd never seen a weapon like that in real life. Sweat started on my forehead; it had nothing to do with the AC being off or the hot Arizona sun.

I had my ID on me, but it wasn't easily accessible. It was packed in the trunk.

The airman in BDUs tracked the perimeter of the building, body coiled, ready for combat. My breath was coming fast by the time he approached the car and tapped hard on the window.

Davis Monthan AFB
"See some ID?" he said.

I stammered, explaining where it was. I made to open the door to get out of the car.

"Don't!" he barked as my fingers touched the door handle. "Stay where you are!" His gun rose slightly and I froze. He backed toward the building, weapon still trained just lower than my seat. His eyes were fixed on me until the moment he slipped inside.

I had no idea what to do. I could only hope it was a drill . . . Did I look suspicious? Was my ID expired?

It turned out to be a joke, I discovered when my friend returned, bristling but amused. "I told him it was stupid," she said.

"Yeah." I felt light-headed. "You think." Frankly, I was pissed.


There is an old, partially wood-body AK-47 hanging in the Civil Engineering Building at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, insides gutted and welded shut. The worst you could do with it is smash somebody over the head.

My suspicion: It made quite the national hoopla today.

From various news sources: "Armed intruder . . . . Man carrying an AK-47 . . . Base is on lock down . . . Man holed-up in the Civil Engineering Building . . . No shots fired."