Ala. National Guard trains to offer support for states experiencing civil unrest
ANNISTON, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama National Guard’s military police unit is around 300 strong and training at Fort McClellan for a difficult mission: quelling civil unrest that may spark across the country.
“It’s such a volatile type of mission that we really need to ensure that our teams are correctly trained, to the extent that we can best ensure the public’s safety and our soldiers' safety,” said Col. Tom Tyler, director of military support for the Alabama National Guard.
The unit’s first mission was a deployment to Wisconsin weeks ago following significant social disturbance and unrest. While the mission was safe, they quickly realized additional training was imperative.
“We’re doing a lot of training in decompressing an environment, disengaging and calming a crowd down rather than being antagonistic because we would much prefer to avoid a problem rather than confront a problem,” Tyler said.
Alabama and Arizona National Guard units are tapped for the mission to provide national assistance and will deploy based on proximity.
“Alabama is blessed to have several military police organizations compared to some other states that might have less,” Tyler explained. “We were more capable of providing that service than other states and then when we were called upon and responded very quickly for the Wisconsin deployment, that they showed that there was capability in our effectiveness of being able to deploy, perform, and then redeploy safely.”
While the soldiers are trained for war, Tyler doesn’t take this mission lightly.
“It’s all been very unsettling all summer long,” he said. “Quite candidly, lately sometimes I lose sleep thinking about what if we had to do this or that, what if that kind of problem presented itself within our state that we’re seeing and other states.”
Tyler says the current training is not connected to any upcoming event or potential threat.
Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.