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.

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