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    Military police keep the peace during Vigilant Guard

    Military police keep the peace during Vigilant Guard

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Leticia Samuels | Soldiers from the 210th Military Police Company work with the Mecklenburg Sheriff's...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Lisa Vines 

    382nd Public Affairs Detachment

    NEW LONDON, N.C. - Soldiers, airmen, and emergency management personnel banded together in Charlotte on March 7, 2015, to provide security at the Walter M. Franklin Water Treatment Plant during the weeklong Vigilant Guard exercise.

    Vigilant Guard is an exercise program that provides an opportunity for Army and Air National Guard, North Carolina Emergency Management, and county civilian partners to improve communication and operational relationships.

    The soldiers of the 210th Military Police Company assisted the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department in securing and patrolling the Franklin Water Treatment Plant, the largest water treatment plant in North Carolina.

    “The 210th has been tasked with providing security for this exercise, which is a simulated natural disaster. Our mission entails securing the Walter M. Franklin Water Treatment Plant. We’ve got a group of MP’s providing gate security, road security, and also watching over the camera system,” said Army Staff Sgt. Mike Gibson of the 210th Military Police Company.

    During Vigilant Guard, the National Guard has been working with the police department, fire department, sheriff’s office, as well as several components of NC Emergency Management.

    Air Force Staff Sgt. Mark Fow, emergency management for the 145th Airlift Wing, said, “Interoperability between military and local authorities is crucial. The time to build relationships and test capabilities are not when a disaster happens, but right now through exercises just like this.”

    The Air National Guard’s 145th Airlift Wing provided communications command support to the Army National Guard’s command and control center at the treatment plant. The ANG Mobile Emergency Operations Center provided additional Internet, video surveillance, and radio support from their 40-foot mobile operations trailer.

    “It’s important that the state, city and local community know that this asset is available. We have participated in many state and city exercises and provide demonstrations for local fire departments and other military installations,” said Fow.

    Army 1st Lt. Bryan Cooper, a platoon leader with the 210th, explained this exercise as an opportunity to change gears, as well as practice interoperability.

    “What we’re going for with this mission is to ready the Guard and all the necessary communication channels to make sure everything is open and information is flowing correctly so that if this were to happen we can get properly dispatched and show up in a timely manner to serve the public,” said Cooper.

    For many of the soldiers, this was their first Vigilant Guard exercise. The 210th Military Police Company deployed in 2014 to Afghanistan, according to Cooper this was important to them because the training and operations for overseas deployment vary greatly from stateside situations.

    “That’s the biggest factor we focused on this week. That we are dealing with US citizens on US soil,” said Gibson.

    Cooper expressed the importance of changing mindset from a combat setting to a civil peacekeeping environment.

    “The main thing is re-gearing from what you might think of while deployed to how we are MP’s would aid local peace entities,” said Cooper, “Being here gives people a chance to change gears from that deployed mindset.”

    Army Spc. Ashley Waldrop, also an MP with the 210th Military Police Company, stressed the significance of training for stateside operations.

    “What we’re doing is working along with firefighters, EMS and police officers. So we’re getting a feel for what it’s going to be like to work stateside with civilians,” said Waldrop.

    The unit’s deployment to Afghanistan helped prepare the soldiers by gaining experience in interpersonal communication skills, said Waldrop, giving them an advantage when it comes to handling situations involving a variety of people, both military and civilian.

    Overall, the combined exercise provides much-needed training for soldiers to get experience in a military police role stateside, as well as training for working smoothly alongside local authorities during emergencies.

    “It gets all the assets together in one place and see how it works. It’s like a dry run for a real exercise. When you get all the moving parts moving you can see what goes well and what needs to be tweaked. So next time, when it does happen in reality, we are prepared,” said Gibson.



    Date Taken: 03.07.2015
    Date Posted: 03.08.2015 14:30
    Story ID: 156353
    Location: CHARLOTTE, NC, US

    Web Views: 1,659
    Downloads: 2