Antiterrorism officer wins Provost Marshal General award

| March 3, 2017 | 0 Comments
Courtesy photo Donald Murry, right, antiterrorism officer at USAG-HI's Directorate of Emergency Services, receives a certificate of recognition from Maj. Gen. Mark Inch, Provost Marshal General of the Army at the Army's World-wide Antiterrorism Conference in February.

Courtesy photo
Donald Murry, right, antiterrorism officer at USAG-HI’s Directorate of Emergency Services, receives a certificate of recognition from Maj. Gen. Mark Inch, Provost Marshal General of the Army at the Army’s World-wide Antiterrorism Conference in February.

By Karen A. Iwamoto
Staff Writer

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Antiterrorism officer Donald Murry’s mission is to keep U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii’s 22 installations free from terrorist attacks.

He does this by coordinating with Army planners, directorates and the wider community on exercises; disseminating information to the public; and keeping the garrison’s command informed and prepared.

If he does everything right, he usually has nothing tangible to show for it.

Courtesy photo Antiterrorism officer Donald Murry, center in green vest, prepares for a antiterrorism exercise at Fort Shafter Flats in this undated photo.

Courtesy photo
Antiterrorism officer Donald Murry, center in green vest, prepares for a antiterrorism exercise at Fort Shafter Flats in this undated photo.

“I’ll know I did my job if I retire and no terrorist attack has happened on the installation,” said Murry, who is one of only two antiterrorism officers at U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii’s Directorate of Emergency Services.

Murry was recognized in February at the Army’s 2016 World-wide Antiterrorism Conference in Orlando, Florida, as one of 25 antiterrorism officers placed on the conference’s Honor Roll, which singles out standouts in the field. It’s the second time he received the honor. He was also selected in 2014. The conference was convened by the Antiterrorism Division of the Army Office of the Provost Marshal General.

“I think it was well-deserved,” said Lt. Col. William McKannay, executive officer at DES, adding that most of Murry’s work is behind-the-scenes. “He does a great job of not only keeping the community informed on what to look out for and how to bring things to our attention, he also does a great job of bringing it all together and translating all the information he’s gathered to the commander so the commander can make an informed decision.”

McKannay pointed out that in addition to his work on the installations, Murry is also a member of joint antiterrorism task forces, where he works with city, state and other military officials to keep the islands safe.

The breadth of the work — going back and forth between the wider community and the command — keeps it interesting and fulfilling for Murry.

“I love my job,” he said. “The complexity of it, that it has no borders. I’m talking with planners, coordinating with (the Directorate of Public Works), always talking with cops, working with (the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation) at events. It’s not just one thing that I do. It’s total coordination.”

However, there are challenges.

“Sometimes it’s very difficult to convince the community, when there’s an event, that yes, even though nothing has happened here, if something does happen it could be catastrophic,” he said. “It’s about that balance between safety and letting people lead a normal life.”

Working with diminishing resources is another challenge. While the antiterrorism budget may not be directly affected by cuts, he depends on the wider community to help him enforce and integrate safety protocols, so cuts to the wider Army community does impact his work.

Still, he praised the support he receives from the garrison’s leadership.

“They give us the leeway to do our job and they take what we do seriously,” he said. “They take the information we give them seriously and are very involved. That makes doing the job go well.”

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