Guard Spotlight: New York

Guard Trains Civilian Emergency Response Teams on How to Identify and Avoid IEDs

CAIRO, N.Y. – Four police officers dressed in green jumpsuits and body armor moved deftly among scattered debris and burned-out cars.

Keeping an eye out for tripwires and other signs of an improvised explosive device (IED), the officers finally stood motionless against a steel wall, waiting for explosive ordnance disposal experts from the New York Army National Guard to tell them if they had been “killed” by an “IED” the military experts had placed on the course.

This exercise on Feb. 2 was the culminating event of two days of training in which Soldiers from the 1108th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) taught 20 members of the Columbia-Greene County Shared Services Response Team how to spot and avoid IEDs.

New York Army National Guard SSG Evan Putman, from the 1108th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), places a bomb disposal tool in position while wearing a protective bomb suit during a training tactical operation with the Columbia-Greene County Shared Services Response Team at the 911 Call Center in Cairo, N.Y., on Feb. 2, 2016. (Photo by SGT Michael Davis)

The training, a combination of classroom instruction and field scenarios, involved IED identification and disarming, tactical movements, room and building clearing, as well as familiarization with military and civilian equipment.

This was the first time the Shared Services Response Team conducted explosives training with the New York Guard’s 1108th, which is based in Glenville, N.Y., near Schenectady.

“Learning how each organization operates and how to work together during training is a huge benefit when we’re called to respond during live situations,” said SFC John Gallo III, a recruiting and retention noncommissioned officer who helped to coordinate the training.

“There is no way to duplicate what the Army National Guard can do for and with us,” said Sean McCulloch, a Greenville, N.Y., resident and Marine veteran. McCulloch is one of three leaders of the Shared Services Response Team, a specialized force that responds to high-profile crimes and emergencies such as drug raids, hostage situations, and manhunts.

Formed just six years ago, highly skilled police officers from Columbia and Greene counties and the city of Hudson compete in physical fitness tests, weapons qualifications, and close-quarters combat scenarios in order to be selected for the team.

McCulloch, who has 13 years of law enforcement experience, said he valued the joint training opportunities and deployment experiences the Army National Guard brings to domestic operations.

“We know the terror that is overseas could happen here at any time. We need to be able to learn before loss of life; to keep us and the community safe,” McCulloch said.

Michael Madison, a Hudson, N.Y., resident who has served as the medic for the response team for the past year, is no stranger to the benefit of civilian and military cross-training.

A full-time civilian paramedic, Madison is also an Army National Guard Sergeant with 18 years of service, an Afghanistan veteran, and a medic in the 42nd Infantry Division’s Headquarters Battalion.

“My deployment experience allows me to bring real-world experience to our training here at home. We get to share and learn different techniques that can save lives,” Madison said.

So, if you’re interested in saving lives and protecting your community during a crisis, the National Guard offers career training for Soldiers who would assist emergency response teams like 89D Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist, 68W Health Care Specialist (medic), and 31B Military Police. Explore these careers and others on our job board, and contact a recruiter today.

Original article by SGT Mike Davis, 138th Public Affairs Detachment, appeared earlier this month in the news section of


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