Video: Alaska and West Virginia National Guard teach mine safety in Mongolia
Video by George Kale
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia— Mine Safety is the top priority for three West Virginia Army National Guardsmen who are in Mongolia to share their knowledge of mining with the Mongolian Government. 1st Lt. Joshua Poling, of Morgantown, West Virginia, 1st Lt. John Sinsel, of Grafton, West Virginia, and Staff Sgt. Tommy Wolford, of South Williamson, Kentucky, are Soldiers from the West Virginia Army National Guard and are all full-time coal miners. The trip is the first of its kind to Mongolia and both sides hope to exchange knowledge and ideas with each other. The state of Alaska has had a partnership with the country of Mongolia since 2003 and the Alaska National Guard has sent subject matter experts in various career fields to help train the Mongolian government and their people, according to Maj. Wayne Don, Alaska National Guard state partnership officer. “This opportunity came up through conversations with our Mongolian partners,” Don said. “Since Alaska doesn’t deal with mining that often, I started communication with the West Virginia National Guard to request support from them.” The West Virginia National Guard supported the request, and sent three members to Mongolia to share their expertise in coal mining. “We are here to help the Mongolians on the importance of safety in coal mining,” said Staff Sgt. Tommy Wolford, West Virginia cavalry scout sergeant. “We are hoping to bring down the number of fatalities with mining in Mongolia.” In 2011, Mongolia had more than 100 fatalities in the mining industry and started seeking help from other countries to find the root of the problem. “We are teaching the importance of ventilation and how critical it is to keep the mines safe,” said Wolford. “Other than the miners themselves, ventilation Is the highest priority to keeping the mines safe.” The West Virginia National Guard is in Mongolia to teach mining safety for the week before heading home. “I never thought I would be in the county of Mongolia to teach mining,” said Wolford. “But the great thing about the National Guard is it can take you places you never dreamed of.” Available in High Definition.