Missouri National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Jason Allabaugh shows how to check a pulse on Capt. Joey Schmitz as part of a first aid demonstration for their teammates in the 7th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team at Camp Crowder in Neosho.
(Photo by Matthew J. Wilson)
By Matthew J. Wilson
NEOSHO, Mo. - The Missouri National Guard's 7th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team recently spent three days at Camp Crowder refreshing on basic military skills.
Although the 22-person active Guard unit, based at Cooper Armory Jefferson City, is made up of Army and Air Guardsmen, it falls under Army doctrine which requires its Soldiers to complete training in 40 Warrior Tasks at Battle Drills at least once in a three-year cycle and qualify annually on their assigned weapons.
Warrior Tasks are selected common individual Soldier skills deemed critical to a Soldier's basic competency. Battle Drills are group or collective skills designed to teach a unit to react and accomplish the mission in common combat situations.
"Warrior Tasks are an ever evolving list of tasks that are constantly updated to mirror the current battlefield environment," said 1st Sgt. Christopher Lemley, the unit's first sergeant. "These are Warrior Tasks that are designed for every Soldier so they have the baseline, technique and skills in these particular tasks that the Army has defined as necessary for Soldiers to do well on the battlefield."
While the unit trains year round, the instruction normally focuses on its unique mission, which is to assess suspected or known terrorist threats, advise civilian authorities of appropriate responses, and assist local emergency responders with follow-on forces in incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive weapons of mass destruction.
Lemley said this team normally completes all tasks annually, despite only being required to cover the tasks that come out on the approved task list for that particular year.
"It's not that we're overachievers, it's just that other tasks end up tying into each other, so it's just as easy to go ahead and do all of them in one year," said Lemley, who lives in Columbia. "Plus, unlike normal units that have annual training, the 7th has our mission, which is chemical support to civil authorities, so we don't get to do the Army tasks as frequently as a normal unit. Therefore we like to touch them every year."
Tasks include movement techniques, first aid, voice communications and land navigation.
"Primarily at Camp Crowder we're going to do land navigation because they have a static site set up here," Lemley said. "We'll go through all the tasks associated with land navigation.
We'll also be doing some field emergency medical procedures, like assessing casualties, and all the tasks affiliated with the medical portions."
On the weapons qualification side, the primary assigned weapon for Guardsmen on the team is the 9mm pistol.
"We don't have M-4 or M-16 rifles, so we are kind of unique to the Guard in that aspect," Lemley said. "We come here to Camp Crowder because they have the live pop-up targets for the 9mm range, where if we got to other places in the state, they have you shooting at a 25-meter static target. So it's a little more competitive here."
Master Sgt. Anthony Gordes, the unit's communications team chief and an Air Guardsman, instructed the block of instruction on voice communications. Gordes, who lives in Salem, said it is important for all Soldiers and Airmen to cover these tasks and be proficient with their weapons.
"Other than it just being a requirement it is important that we do not forget these skill sets because we are still a deployable asset to the Missouri National Guard," he said. "If deployed, we need to know how to do these things and it is going to be expected that we know how to do these things."
Technical Sgt. Neal Barks, the team's new information systems analyst and an Air Guardsman, called the training a great refresher.
"Land navigation has been my favorite," said Barks, who live in Columbia. "I haven't covered land navigation in many years, so it will be interesting to get back out there and do it again."
Barks also said he learned a lot of new things from the first aid training as some of the equipment and techniques have been updated.
"Seeing the newer bandages and new style of tourniquet for controlling bleeding was helpful - I hadn't seen any of that before," he said.
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