Anticipating the worst is part of the job for Tom Vinette.
Vinette serves as the antiterrorism officer for Carlisle Barracks, and his work recently earned him recognition as the Carlisle Barracks Civilian Employee of the Year for fiscal year 2017. He was singled out for his performance as the director for the full-scale exercise held in July 2017. He developed the exercise plan, briefed participants and coordinated a training workshop featuring an external instructor.
Q. Your military service brought you to Carlisle as an MP. What drew you back here after retirement?
A. My daughter, Elizabeth, and my parents were what drew me back to the area. Carlisle was my home prior to my military service. I finished seventh and eighth grade at St. Patrick School, while it was still located on Pomfret Street downtown, then attended Trinity High School until 1983. My father Col. (USA, retired) William L. Vinette, and mother, M. Jane Vinette, both of whom have passed, moved to Carlisle in 1977 from the D.C. area, after my father’s time in the Army and federal service. My father then worked for a short time in the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. My mother spent her time volunteering at Carlisle Barracks Thrift Shop. Both my father and mother were active in St. Patrick Parish.
I was assigned to Carlisle Barracks three times during my military police career and was able to retire here. It has been home for quite some time. The time I had with my parents in their later years was priceless. Being close to my daughter, now 21, through her school years was also just as rewarding. Balancing all of that would not have been possible had I taken a job elsewhere.
Q. Generally speaking, how has security changed on installations like the Carlisle Barracks since your service as an MP?
A. There has been a major shift in security and it continues to evolve. Growing up around the barracks from 1977-1983 then coming back to work in the police field, I saw the changes take place. I was here on Sept. 11 of 2001, working as the MP platoon sergeant. The paradigm shift after the immediate response (to 9/11) was tremendous. The active military police soldiers were assigned back to war fighting elements within the MP Corps, and the security forces here were either contracted or federal civilian employees. Both were professional and cared for the work they performed at Carlisle Barracks. The threat of terrorism, in all of its various forms, will continue as will the threat of violence, shootings or other criminal activity and natural hazards such as tornadoes, floods or heavy snow. It’s my job to anticipate the events and plan accordingly for the worst case events.
Q. What does the anti-terrorism officer at Carlisle Barracks do?
A. As the anti-terrorism officer for Carlisle Barracks, I ensure that the workforce remains aware of individual safety and preparedness for criminal and terroristic threats by suggesting and promoting different ways to protect families, employees and service members who live and work here.
Q. What’s the most rewarding part of your service over the years whether in the Army or as a civilian?
A. Over the last 34 years, there are three rewarding events. My deployment to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Storm while assigned to the 204th MP Company, Stuttgart, Germany. From 1999–2001 I was a drill sergeant at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where I trained new soldiers in basic combat and Military Police skills. More recently, in July 2017, planning and executing the full-scale Active Shooter Exercise at Carlisle Barracks. That event involved the entire community inside the fence and tested our integrated response with our counterparts from the Cumberland County Emergency Operations Center.
Q. What’s your favorite thing to do at the barracks?
A. There is really no one thing, at Carlisle Barracks, that I would call my favorite. The whole community provides really great events and conveniences.