Guardsmen conduct state emergency training

Monday, February 11, 2013
Sgt. Adam Wells, a squad leader with Detachment 1, 1137th Military Police Company out of Jackson, directs vehicles through a traffic control stop during his unit's recent state emergency training.

WAPPAPELLO, Mo. -- Guardsmen can be called to state emergency duty any time, and Soldiers of the 1137th Military Police Company want to be sure they're always prepared for that call.

During their recent training, the Soldiers focused on the tasks and responsibilities as military police officers they would do while supporting local first responders.

For Soldiers of Detachment 1 out of Jackson, the training is all about communication.

"Communication is one of the most important things we do," said Sgt. Adam Wells, a squad leader. "Accurate communication can cause or deflect an issue."

This training is the Soldiers first time in the field since returning in August 2012 from a 10-month mobilization providing security for military bases and personnel in Qatar.

While their training is similar to their overseas missions, they have to take in other factors, said Wells.

Factors such as interaction between Soldiers and civilians, supporting local first responders and authorities, and finding quick solutions to a changing climate such as flood are a part of that federal to state transition, said 1st Sgt. Patrick Cunningham.

"For a year we've been in another mode," said Cunningham. "We need to build up our focus on a state emergency environment rebuild its readiness and response as soon as possible,"

Their focus has to transition from security in a combat zone to security on the home front.

"You have to know how to talk to people," said Wells, who remembers his experiences while deployed supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009 - 2010. "You have to respect the public and relay information in a respectful manner."

The training prepares them for situations that can happen at any moment and keep people they know safe, said Spc. Joshua Smith.

"We can reduce accidents and help control and prioritize the flow of traffic for emergency vehicles," said Smith.

He still remembers the role his unit contributed during the Joplin tornado clean up, and the positive impact they can have on the community, said Smith.

"This is something every Soldier needs to know because we can need it any time, emergencies can happen any time," said Smith.

The training was also a good opportunity to rebuild camaraderie because the unit has many new faces who enlisted while the unit was deployed.

Working one-on-one with new Soldiers in his squad gave him the chance to help them build their communication in social situations and build their confidence, said Wells.

Helping the new Soldiers and passing along his experience was important to his unit's future success, said Smith.

"Training allows you to bond so when a future mission comes along you'll know how each other work," said Smith.

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