Guardsmen to conduct urban training at Arcadia in April Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The Carroll National Guard unit will train on urban military operations by holding a four-day exercise at Arcadia.The purpose of the April 2-5 drill will be to gather intelligence, then search for and apprehend a suspected weapons dealer, according to Sgt. Mike Kots, readiness NCO for Alpha Company.Citizens, law enforcement, media and other supporters will participate.Troops will spend Thursday, April 2, staging at a forward operations base at Carroll. The next day company leaders will conduct reconnaissance and begin patrolling the streets of Arcadia to identify possible locations of the weapons dealer.The primary phase will be done Saturday, April 4, when convoys will be deployed from Carroll to Arcadia. Pictures of the arms dealer will be shown in Arcadia, and soldiers will go door to door asking if residents have seen the suspect.Soldiers will knock only at households that have agreed to participate in the drill, Kots noted."Once credible intelligence has been gathered," said Kots, "portions of the town will be road-blocked and more in-depth searches of homes and vehicles will be conducted in accordance with the residents' wishes."One of the techniques we use in today's political environment is cordon and knock," Kots explained. "We ask for the head of the household, get permission to search, then have them open doors and cupboards. The homeowner maintains control. We peer over their shoulder, and the soldier uses the homeowner's body language and position to protect him."During this phase of the operation, troops will interact with residents and media while implementing crowd-control measures and possibly treating and evacuating injured persons.The unit will use a Blackhawk helicopter for overhead command and control, and to simulate medevacs.The drill will culminate in the apprehension of the suspected arms dealer.Alpha Company will conduct a review of the drill on Sunday, April 5.A meeting to give residents more information and accept volunteers will be held 7 p.m. Monday, March 2, in the Arcadia American Legion hall.Kots said the exercise will replace Alpha Company's weekend drill for April."We have a lot of extended drills this coming year," he added.In addition to surveillance, searching and apprehension, the exercise will also give the troops valuable experience in stability, support, patrol, traffic control, vehicle searches and other skills needed for deployment in an urban environment."This exercise will improve the real-life operational skills of the unit," said Kots. "And it will hopefully improve the public's understanding of military operations."The pre-drill work with residents is as important at the drill itself."It will be important for us to gain the trust and confidence of the residents of Arcadia," said Kots. "We will need to identify individuals that are willing to assist us in training by allowing us to search their homes and vehicles and to participate in role-playing.""We really want to get as much information out there as possible, because this operation could be pretty intrusive to the people of Arcadia."