Super heroes and princesses at Fort Campbell need not fear monsters this Halloween because installation Military Police officers, police patrols and Soldier volunteers will guard the streets to keep the community safe.
Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, or BOSS, is looking for volunteers to participate in the annual Operation Friendly Ghost. Soldiers participating in this program are strategically placed at busy intersections and throughout the housing areas to monitor activity and assist as needed.
“The Soldiers basically act as crossing guards for the trick-or-treaters on post,” said Spc. Gary Yim, with BOSS. “We’re basically teaming up with the MPs. They send us out to the neighborhoods on post [to] make sure that the kids are safe.”
Yim noted that all Soldiers, single or married, are encouraged to participate in this year’s event. Volunteer “guardians of the night” will be posted at 13 neighborhoods across Fort Campbell to protect trick-or-treaters between 6 and 9 p.m. Oct. 31.
“We like to see as many people as we can,” Yim said. “Last year we had about 60 guys and we didn’t turn any away. They all had a lot of fun. The more the merrier, we’re not going to turn anyone away.”
An extra 17 MPs from the 716th MP Battalion will be on hand during Operation Friendly Ghost with the Soldier volunteers and normal patrols, said Maj. Wayne Stiles, an MP and operations officer for the Provost Marshall’s Office.
With about 5,000 children expected to trick-or-treat on post this year, Operation Friendly Ghost serves as an added layer of security for the community, Stiles said.
“It’s very important having extra eyes and ears out there on the roadways,” he said. “Families are going to feel more secure knowing that there are additional personnel out there looking out for their kids.”
Soldiers interested in volunteering should sign up at the D. W. Recreation Center, located at 6145 Desert Storm Ave., no later than Wednesday. For more information about Operation Friendly Ghost, call BOSS at (931) 436-1990.
To get their neighborhood assignments for the night, volunteers will meet at the MP station on Forrest Road at 5 p.m. Each volunteer will wear a reflective belt and will be issued a bright orange, green or yellow BOSS T-shirt or gray hoodie sweatshirt, depending on the temperature, Yim said.
Good volunteers should be “somebody with a good attitude; somebody that wants to serve; somebody that’s willing to give up their free time on a popular holiday,” Stiles said.
Yim said Operation Friendly Ghost is a good opportunity for Soldiers who are pursuing the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal to can get credit for the hours they work. Volunteers can get up to 5 ½ hours, including travel time, for volunteering on Halloween, Yim said. BOSS will verify a Soldier’s volunteer hours for that night.
“It’s good for the community because we make sure that the kids are being safe. It’s good for the Soldiers because it gets them out being proactive,” he said.
Although the specified hours for Operation Friendly Ghost are from 6 until 9 p.m., Stiles said there is no set time for trick or treating on post – leaving the decision of when to start up to parents or guardians.
“Kids that are younger – kindergarten through third grade – they may start sooner,” he said.