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More than 25 state lawmakers visited the Ike Skelton Training Site in Jefferson City to gain a better understanding of the Missouri National Guard Image by Missouri National Guard
Edited news release from Missouri National Guard:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - More than 25 Missouri legislators visited the Ike Skelton Training Site in Jefferson City Monday to gain a better understanding of the Missouri National Guard.
While legislators are familiar with the Missouri Guard's local assistance during times of flooding or tornadoes, the event offered elected officials an opportunity to see aspects that are less known.
"The Guard knows who we are," said Rep. Ron Hicks (R-St. Charles County). "They live in our communities. I want to thank the National Guard for this program. We don't usually get to see what they do, and it's phenomenal."
Following a Missouri Guard activity update, legislators viewed exhibits by the State Partnership program and the Museum of Missouri Military History, as well as weapons and vehicle displays.
Hicks said the most eye-opening exhibit was one that allowed legislators to put on battle dress. Legislators put on the Interceptor Body Armor and an Advanced Combat Helmet. Once legislators were finished putting on the gear, they were able to pick up a combat simulator rifle to test their shooting skills.
Staff Sgt. Steven Nations assisted with the combat display and the basic weapons training system.
"In 10 years, I've worked with a lot of young soldiers," said Nations, unit supply sergeant for the 229th Multi-function Medical Battalion. "We taught basic soldier readiness and why those skills are important. It was nice to expose them to that."
In addition to the combat armor and weapons training, legislators also received an education in Missouri National Guard history.
"The legislators were very interested in the weapons, and how different they were compared to the ones today," said Charles Machon, museum director for the Museum of Missouri Military History. "Modern machine guns can shoot 30 times in five seconds, compared to the musket, which can fire three times in a minute if you are really fast."
While legislators discussed the old weapons and tools involved in Missouri's military history, they also had a chance to see some of the most modern, mobile technology in the Missouri Guard.
The 7th Civil Support Team brought three vehicles that have proven helpful in assisting communities in need of communications, or chemical and biological analysis. Legislators were able to step into a unified command suite and a mobile command vehicle. Both vehicles allow for inter-operability among local and state law enforcement and are some of the first vehicles deployed when disaster hits.
To close out the day's events, legislators were able to participate in an orientation flight in a civilian AgustaWestland helicopter that was on site to demonstrate its public safety capabilities.
While the flight and the exhibits provided legislators a look into what they may not have known about the Missouri Guard, it was Missouri's Adjutant General Steve Danner's comments that spotlighted how the Missouri National Guard is gaining national notoriety for how to operate on levels of logistics, public affairs and training.
"The Missouri National Guard continues to be a front runner for the rest of the country," said Rep. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg). "Missourians can be proud of them for their accomplishments."
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