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New York City bomb targets military recruiting station

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A bomb went off outside the U.S. military recruiting station in Times Square here early Thursday, injuring nobody but causing minor structural damage, according to Air Force Recruiting Service officials.

The bomb went off at approximately 3:45 a.m. EST, cracking the glass door, bending the door frame, and shattering the large glass window in front. The station, jointly manned by Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps recruiters, is arguably the most well known recruiting office in the nation.

"This is not the first time one of our offices has been used to demonstrate, but violence is not tolerated and law enforcement officials will find the perpetrator and prosecute," said Brig. Gen. Suzanne M. Vautrinot, AFRS commander. "I must commend Air Force officials for doing a superb job of responding, reporting and accounting for their people."

Within minutes of the explosion, coordination was already occurring between the Air Force Office of Special Investigation, Air Education and Training Command, and AFRS units at every level, according to Lt. Col. Sean McKenna, AFRS spokesperson.

Incidents of harassment and vandalism against military recruiters -- in the form of spitting, threatening words, graffiti and broken windows -- are not uncommon since many recruiters reside in leased office buildings outside the confines of military installations and are susceptible to personal attacks.

"Most of these attacks have been by people frustrated with the government, who then act on that against the easiest target they can find -- our recruiters," General Vautrinot said. "In all of these incidents, our recruiters acted professionally and used their training to defuse the volatile situation."

All Air Force recruiters receive extensive training at the Air Force Recruiting Schoolhouse at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, on how to deal with hostile and threatening individuals.

Recruiters are also trained to remain vigilant and have regular contact with local law enforcement officials to ensure standard force protection measures are effective, Colonel McKenna said.

Civil and federal authorities are conducting an investigation of today's bombing.
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