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2 Military Academies Are Closed to Public

Security: Air Force and Coast Guard officials act after terrorism alert level is raised nationwide.

September 13, 2002|From Associated Press

GOLDEN, Colo. — The Air Force and Coast Guard academies have been closed to the public because of unspecified security concerns and have no immediate plans to reopen their gates, spokesmen said Thursday.

The 19,000-acre Air Force campus was closed Tuesday night, and the Coast Guard school in New London, Conn., closed Wednesday.

The closings were recommended after the Bush administration raised the color-coded domestic alert system to orange, its second-highest level, based on intelligence warning of possible strikes.

There was no specific threat at the school, said Lt. Greg Hignite, Air Force Academy spokesman.

"It's just like we were around 9/11. I don't know how long it's going to last," said Chief Petty Officer Eric Eggen, spokesman for the Coast Guard Academy.

There's been no recent change at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., or at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., officials of those institutions said Thursday.

West Point has not allowed free access since September 2001, but guided tours are still available, spokeswoman Andrea Hamburger said. The Naval Academy remained open Thursday to visitors, said Cmdr. Bill Spann, an academy spokesman.

The Air Force Academy, one of Colorado's most popular tourist attractions, was closed for nearly three months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The only people allowed on the Coast Guard and Air Force campuses are people with military identification, including retirees and students. Nonmilitary visitors will be allowed only if accompanied by someone with military identification.

Officials were discussing what to do about access for public events such as football games.

During last year's shutdown, visitors were allowed to attend football games and concerts, but they could not go anywhere else on the base.

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