Kentucky Guardsmen prepare for Derby and Oaks

JAK

Story by Capt. Andi Hahn | Photos by Staff Sgt. Aaron Hiler/133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

The “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” took five months to plan and the Kentucky National Guard is no stranger to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks “Run for the Roses”.

For decades the Kentucky National Guard has assisted the Louisville Metro Police Department and other state and local law enforcement agencies during the Kentucky Derby and Oaks festivities held in Louisville, Ky., at Churchill Downs.

“When a big event like Derby exceeds Louisville metro’s ability to respond they ask for our assistance,” said Maj. Lance Grebe, operations officer for the Kentucky National Guard. “We are never out there on our own; our teams are always partnered with a police officer,” Grebe said.

Army Spc. John R. Adkins of the Kentucky National Guard interviews Louisville Metro Police Sgt. Jim Bland about their mission during last year’s Kentucky Oaks and Derby horse races.

This year there will be 360 Kentucky National Guardsmen from the 198th Military Police Battalion, 41st Civil Support Team, 63rd Aviation Brigade, and various headquarters offices that will provide support to the Louisville Metro Police Department during the Derby festivities April 30 to May 1.

The MP Soldiers will occupy traffic control points, provide infield/gate security at Churchill Downs, provide the winner’s circle detail, transportation support and overall be a presence for command and control of security support operations alongside the LMPD.

The Kentucky National Guard has worked with local law enforcement and other agencies for numerous training events and real-world incidents such as the 2009 Winter Ice Storm and Hurricane Ike. The Kentucky Derby gives them another arena to brush up on Soldier skills and community outreach.

Army Pfc. Mark Slaughter, HHC 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, stands at the head of a line of Soldiers and Airmen of the Kentucky National Guard who formed the Kentucky Derby Winner's Circle security cordon May 2, 2009.

“It’s important to continue to build a good working relationship with the LMPD,” Grebe said. “Our Soldiers, especially the MP’s, get refresher training out of it. In the past, during state training events or real-world disasters, it’s always been a seamless transition working with the local law officials,” said Grebe.

Follow this year’s Guardsmen participating in derby festivities on our website, www.kentuckyguard.com, and our social media links.

About kentuckyguard