Guard Answers The Call To Duty

Story by SPC Charles Ames; Photos by LTC Dan Hughes - Posted Oct, 2001

Soldier Readiness Processing

As part of President Bush's decision to employ the forces of the nation's National Guard and Reserve, in response to the terrorist attacks of 11 Sep 01, the call went out to Washington National Guardsmen.  It was not long before lines of volunteers stood ready to be processed into service to beef up security at the states airports.  Operation Noble Raven has begun.

MAJ Walter Tanimoto, 96th Troop Command, Assistant S-3 provides a glimpse into vast machinery that goes into motion for most activations. This process begins with the presidents order to call up reservists and National Guardsmen to help with airport security for Washington by order of the governor."  When the call for volunteers went out, Washington National Guardsmen streamed in.  "We called up our forces based on the needs and requirements on each individual airport that we would be covering down on, said MAJ Tanimoto.

Records Check at Camp Murray

We are treating this call-up just like we would any mobilization of the National Guard to active duty", said MAJ Tanimoto - that process begins with Soldier Readiness Processing, or SRP.

MAJ Tanimoto provides an overview of the process: "During this process we interview and go through each individual guard members records. We review their medical records, personnel records and identify any shortfalls they may have.  This would include shot records and X-rays, we look at their training background; the complete checklist that we would normally use for the mobilization. All that takes place in the first day.

We then analyze whats required training for the specific mission. In this case its airport security. We have coordinated with local law enforcement agencies and the Federal Aviation Administration and other agencies to determine what is required.

Guardsmen participated in a refresher qualification with the 9mm pistol and the M16 rifle

The five-day program begins with the call-up of the guard member, in-processing, two days of Federal Aviation Administration training, a day of weapons refresher qualification and briefings.  With that, we develop a training plan, which encompasses a five-day program".

One additional benefit to be gained from the rigorous preparation, MAJ Tanimoto points out, those selected to man the security detail will receive their beret earlier than most their Army Guard counterparts.  "To culminate the five-day training event, we have a beret ceremony as required by Department of the Army; taking off the old service cap and putting on the beret as a symbolic gesture of moving towards active duty and towards defense of the United States of America".

At the completion of their train-up, Guardsmen received their new black berets