Guard Spotlight: South Carolina

 Creative use of military vehicles boosts sea creatures’ habitats

The South Carolina Army National Guard and Department of Natural Resources dropped 36 vehicles into the water off the coast of Beaufort, S.C., last month to help form the manmade reefs that attract sea life and tourism to the area. (Photo by Phillip Jones/released)

The South Carolina Army National Guard and Department of Natural Resources dropped 36 vehicles into the water off the coast of Beaufort, S.C., last month to help form the manmade reefs that attract sea life and tourism to the area. (Photo by Phillip Jones/released)

The South Carolina Army National Guard and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) formed a partnership 17 years ago to develop and improve sea life off the coast of South Carolina. That partnership was used most recently on Sept. 4, when the Guard and DNR dropped 36 vehicles into the water off the coast of Beaufort, S.C., to help form the manmade reefs that attract sea life and tourism to the area.

We “found a way to repurpose obsolete military vehicles and better the environment by demilitarizing and cleaning them, then dropping them in the ocean to help build artificial reefs off the coast of South Carolina,” said 1st Lt. Jason Dunnagan, Innovative Readiness Training Program coordinator for the South Carolina Army National Guard. “Each unit that works on this project receives mission-essential training on preparing vehicles and transporting them to the ocean, because vehicle preparation and movement is imperative for every mission.”

Building artificial reefs encourages sea life to populate the area, which in turn encourages more recreational activities, such as fishing and SCUBA diving. This brings revenue to the State.

“This project brings in $83 million for South Carolina annually, in ways of tourism that range from hotel revenue to deep sea activities,” Dunnagan said. “This is a major factor in the State’s economy.”

According to DNR, the vehicles used to build these artificial reefs could remain productive for the next 150 years. “It won’t be long before these recently dropped vehicles will be covered with long puffs of soft corals, sea sponges and barnacles, and used by a variety of fish to provide food and protection,” said Robert Martore with DNR. “About a dozen sites exist off Beaufort County, and DNR periodically adds to them as material becomes available.”

“Since the project began in 1997, we have placed 587 armored vehicles off the coast of South Carolina,” Martore said. “Those vehicles have helped to create more than 1,120,000 cubic feet of new reef habit.”

If you have an interest in serving your community, explore the many unique ways you can do so through the National Guard. Visit our jobs board and contact a recruiter today.

 

Original article by Staff Sgt. Tracci Dorgan, South Carolina National Guard, appeared last month in the news section of NationalGuard.mil.

Share on FacebookShare on Twitter

Guard Spotlight: Missouri

Homeland Response Force MPs Attend Chemical Defense Training

Specialist Sarah Mitchell, 1175th Military Police Company, identifies an unknown agent with M8 detection paper. Mitchell was one of more than 90 MPs from the unit who participated in specialized chemical defense training last month. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda Barginear)

Specialist Sarah Mitchell, 1175th Military Police Company, identifies an unknown agent with M8 detection paper. Mitchell was one of more than 90 MPs from the unit who participated in specialized chemical defense training last month. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda Barginear)

A group of Missouri Army National Guard military police underwent specialized chemical defense training for the first time ever last month at the chemical defense training facility that’s headquartered at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

The pioneering effort is the brainchild of Staff Sgt. Amanda Barginear, along with Capt. Scott Wolf and 1st Sgt. Gabe Medina — all members of the 1175th Military Police Company based out of St. Clair and St. Louis.

More than 90 Soldiers from the unit’s Homeland Response Force (HRF) were selected to attend. That was a significant number, Medina says, and it heightened the exercise’s realistic, high-stress approach.

“Soldiers were given medical exams and initially took part in basic safety instruction sessions,” Medina said. Then “we were all fitted with protective equipment, including a service light-weight integrated suit and a protective mask.”

In each training scenario, the Soldiers were taught to detect and identify various chemical agents. Chemical alarms signaled the seriousness of the live agent training.

“Soldiers responded to the training techniques they received from the staff with confidence,” Medina said. After the live-agent identification session ended, Soldiers took a hands-on approach to decontaminating themselves and their equipment.

The day ended with a medical screening and a review of the eventful day, as they shared stories about their own experiences.

Capt. Michael Tompkins and other trainers said the experiment gave the MP Soldiers a “dynamic training opportunity” to gain confidence in themselves and the equipment used in a live nerve agent and toxic chemical environment.

“I hope it is not the last, and I look forward to any training opportunities that may take place in the future,” Tompkins said.

If you have an interest in gaining the training it takes to provide our Nation with top-notch emergency response, explore the National Guard jobs board and contact a recruiter today.

 

Original article by Staff Sgt. Amanda Barginear, 1175th Military Police Company, appeared last month in the news section of NationalGuard.mil.

Share on FacebookShare on Twitter

‘That’s when my instincts and training kicked in’

Arizona Army National Guard Soldier draws on military training to help family escape their burning home

PFC Samuel Pineda

PFC Samuel Pineda

Army PFC Samuel Pineda, an infantryman with the 158th Infantry Battalion, was returning home one day in late August when he saw smoke billowing from the front of a neighbor’s home. As he approached the residence, he saw two young girls running back and forth near the front door in a panic.

“They told me the house was on fire and someone was inside,” said Pineda. “That’s when my training and instincts kicked in.”

Pineda immediately called 911. He saw flames growing near the front of the house so he ran to the back of the home to locate the occupants.

“As an infantryman we are trained to act calm during intense situations,” said Pineda. “I knew I had to act fast and take action. If I did not do something, people could be hurt or worse.”

Shouting through a window, Pineda made contact with the people inside and directed them to the backyard, away from the flames near the front door. From atop the backyard wall, Pineda helped a teenager climb over into a neighboring yard. The father of the children handed his 6-year-old son to Pineda, and he handed the child over to the youngster’s older brother. Pineda then helped the father over the backyard wall and led the family to safety before first responders arrived to combat the blaze.

On the day of the fire, local media reported “a mystery neighbor” helped the family escape the burning home. A witness said Pineda immediately jumped the wall surrounding the backyard to assist the family out of the house.

Pineda has been a member of the Arizona Army National Guard for two years. He attended basic combat training and infantry school at Fort Benning, Ga. The training Pineda experienced there, such as reacting to enemy contact, helps condition Soldiers to think critically and take action during high stress situations.

“I’m just glad I was in the right place at the right time,” Pineda said. “Once the police arrived, I did not want to be in the way, so I provided my contact information to the officer and left. I feel sad that the family’s home was damaged but happy that no one was hurt.”

The local fire department recently held a ceremony to recognize Pineda for his valiant efforts that summer day.

If you’ve got the instincts of a hero and want the training the National Guard has to offer, visit our jobs board and contact a recruiter today.

Original article by SPC Wes Parrell, Arizona National Guard, appeared last month in the news section of nationalguard.mil.

Share on FacebookShare on Twitter