Infantry Soldiers find new training a “riot”

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

140118-Z-GN092-042

Soldiers of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry train with a Frankfort Police Department officer on the use of a riot shield in Frankfort, Ky., Jan. 18, 2014. The department conducted a full day of civil disturbance training for the unit including several tactics and techniques of crowd control. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry have always taken pride in the variety of skills they hold as a resource in the Kentucky National Guard.  From assisting local officials during natural disasters in the state or securing convoys in Iraq, the 1/149th has pretty much done it all. The leadership of the battalion said there’s always room for more.

Guardsmen of the 1/149th’s Charlie Company  out of Ravenna, Ky., added crowd control to their skill set during civil disturbance training in Frankfort, Ky., Jan. 18.

“As the military’s role keeps changing, we wonder how the infantry will remain a resource to Kentucky and how can it remain in the public’s eyes as a homeland security asset? This training is an answer to that,” said 1st Lt. Michael McFadden, executive officer with Charlie Co., who first proposed the idea last year after a chance meeting with local police officers.

To see more photos from this training, click here.

140118-Z-GN092-030

Spc. Dakota Sanborn with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry participates in the “Redman” exercise with the Frankfort POlice Department in Frankfort, Ky., Jan. 18, 2014. The “Redman” provides the opportunity to demonstrate baton techniques as part of crowd control training. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“As we transition from overseas deployments to operations at home, it’s important for us to establish partnerships with our communities and local organizations, such as the Frankfort Police Department,” he said. “This kind of training is invaluable for us and puts Charlie Company ahead of other units in value to the Guard and the state.”

Thanks to the cooperative efforts of the Frankfort Police, Charlie Co. was able to obtain helpful training needed to fulfill it’s current role as the Kentucky Guard’s Reaction Force. The role of a reaction force rotates among certain units in Kentucky every few years. The purpose is to have a trained and capable unit ready to assist local communities and augment local law enforcement agencies across the commonwealth in times of civil unrest.

McFadden believed training in crowd control would be a good fundamental his unit should learn. Frankfort Police Lt. Ken Hopkins totally agreed.

“This a win-win for us all,” said Hopkins. “We are tasked with (civil disturbance), they are tasked with it, it’s a hand in glove sort of thing, we just marry up the experts. I can tell you without a doubt that this department, the chief, the mayor, we are all huge supporters of the military. We have several officers who have served, including myself and we have Boone National Guard Center right here, so when the chance comes up to train with our military, we are all over the idea.”

140118-Z-GN092-049

Frankfort Police officers train Soldiers with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry in the proper techniques of using a riot shield in Frankfort, Ky., Jan. 18, 2014. The collaboration between the department and the National Guard was said to be mutually beneficial in the training of both sides. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Hopkins, Frankfort’s Mobile Field Force Commander, orchestrated the training and selected members of his team to instruct the Soldiers on the necessary elements to contend with civil disturbances.  Classes and demonstrations included the proper riot control formations, use of riot shields and batons and techniques for securing detainees. He said he was ecstatic to assist because he knew it was mutually beneficial.

While the roles of the military and local law enforcement are legally different according to the U.S. Constitution, Hopkins said its about the common goals and common training of those involved in assisting the public.

“Charlie Company has the training, our training, they are in the community just like we are, they are familiar with our tactics and our officers, so it makes perfect sense to call on them,” he said. “They have become a force-multiplier for us here in Frankfort.”

The full-day of instruction culminated with a large-scale exercise that night in Frankfort. The Soldiers were forced to put everything they had learned to work in order to quell a mock riot situation put on by the police officers and local volunteers.

The infantry Soldiers were also excited to change up the training schedule with a new block of instruction.  While the night exercise and taser demonstrations were the highlights of the day, Charlie Co.’s Soldiers said they found each class helpful.

“The training was very in depth, it was intense and very interesting,” said Spc. Paul Samarin from Richmond, Ky. “We all found a new appreciation for the work that the police do and learned a lot of things we never knew they had to do.”

140118-Z-GN092-160

Soldiers of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry square off with officers from the Frankfort Police Department in a mock riot exercise in Frankfort, Ky., Jan. 18, 2014. The exercise was the culminating event of a full day training for the Soldiers on crowd control conducted by the officers. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The training was originally scheduled for October of 2013, but due to the government shutdown, the collaboration was put on hold. McFadden said the fact that the training was continued goes to show its importance.

“We are grateful that the Frankfort Police Department kept us on their schedule,” he said. “This is the kind of partnership we need and the unique training helps us as leaders keep our Soldiers involved and interested. If Frankfort calls, or if Kentucky calls, Charlie Company will be ready when needed in a new way.”

 

About kentuckyguard