Hometown Military News for August 26, 2016:
Springfield-based Military Police Company gets job specific training
By Staff Sgt. Robert R. Adams, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs
Approximately 100 Soldiers with the 233rd Military Police Company based in Springfield conducted annual training at the Camp Grayling Joint Military Training Center and Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center during Northern Strike 16.
Northern Strike is a National Guard Bureau-sponsored exercise uniting Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Canada and approximately 5,000 Army, Air Force, Marine, and Special Forces servicemembers from 20 states at Camp Grayling and the Alpena CRTC in Michigan.
The 233rd acted as the opposing force for Special Forces and Marine Reserve units training at Camp Grayling. In addition, they trained on security for aircraft and aircraft ordnance, security of an aerial live-fire range, Military Operations in Urban Terrain, law and order patrols and entry control point operations.
“This environment is perfect for the young Soldiers in our unit to ease into the law and order training,” said 1st Lt. Matthew Marass of Macomb, acting commander of the 233rd. “Having this opportunity to have on-the-job training as gate guards next to Sheriff’s deputies has been very beneficial.”
Every year the military police company and other units around the state must be trained on their mission requirements.
“Law and order is on our key mission essential task list. It’s what we do,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joel Montey of Springfield acting first sergeant of the 233rd. “So training on it is vital. It’s a great opportunity to conduct it on this small installation so the soldiers can progress.”
Critical site security, cordon and search, entry control point and perform as a response force are some of the tasks the MPs train on year-round.
“It’s hard for us to get trained up on all of these tasks throughout the year in a real-world situation,” said Marass. “Most of these Soldiers have only been in the Guard for two to three years and haven’t done real-world missions.”
Montey said while the unit has been in Michigan they have been able to not only meet their mission requirements but also get some joint force experience that they couldn’t have gotten back at home station.
“This is how we usually deploy, in a joint environment, so for the Soldiers to gain this experience working with the other countries and military branches is priceless,” said Montey.
Marass said the unit has many of its noncommissioned officers deployed forward and this has given an opportunity for some soldiers to step up.
“It’s good to get hands-on training with experienced people in the field who can help us with things that we don’t get to do often,” said Spc. Kurt Johnson of Atwood, Illinois with the 233rd.
Johnson said that he believes this kind of training will transfer well to real-world missions he could face in his career. Johnson said he hopes the unit will do more training like this in the future.
Marass said that doing training like this also boosts retention in the 233rd.
“After attending Northern Strike last year we had young Soldiers excited again about serving in the Guard,” said Marass. “When the soldiers get to do job-specific training they love it because it’s what they are passionate about and signed up to do.”
Illinois National Guard Remembers First African-American State Command Sergeant Major
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Army National Guard lost an influential leader on Aug. 25. Former State Command Sgt. Major Allen Kirkpatrick of Chicago died of natural causes at the age of 79 on Thursday.
Kirkpatrick enlisted May 5, 1955 and served 42 years before retiring in 1997. He was the Illinois Army National Guard’s first African-American State Command Sergeant Major, serving as the Guard’s top enlisted Soldiers from 1993 to 1997.
“He was a great mentor. He has always been a guy who has impacted people’s careers and was very well liked,” said retired Command Sgt. Major Odarrell Pennington of Chicago.
Pennington enlisted in 1971 and was part of the Illinois Army National Guard’s 1-178th Infantry Battalion in Chicago.
“His motto was ‘Good to go,'” Pennington said. “He wanted to ensure Soldiers did everything they could to get the job done and done right. He was very level-headed and impacted the careers of so many of our Soldiers.”
Word of his death traveled fast at Camp Lincoln in Springfield, the state headquarters for the Illinois National Guard. Soldiers began to reminisce about the type of person and leader Kirkpatrick was.
“He was a star. He loved the military and loved Soldiers,” said Col. (retired) Ray Perry of Springfield, Illinois. Perry worked with Kirkpatrick for many years in different capacities. “Everyone looked up to him. He was a great man and great person.”
Perry retired from the Illinois National Guard in 1999 and still works at Camp Lincoln. He said Kirkpatrick always showed an interest in others.
“He made a point of coming to see me once a year after he retired, just to ask about my family and how I am doing,” Perry said.
Kirkpatrick helped mold the Illinois Army National Guard into what it is today.
“Command Sergeant Major Kirkpatrick left a legacy of influence on our force,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Zerbonia of Chatham, Illinois, the Assistant Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard and commander of the Illinois Army National Guard. “He was an inspirational leader to officers and noncommissioned officers alike. He was a great leader and a great man who will be missed, but won’t be
Command Sgt. Major Bill Middleton of Chicago retired in 2001 and said Kirkpatrick took him under his wing and taught him how to take care of Soldiers.
“He always took the extra step to make you a better person. He was a great guy and an inspiration to troops,” Middleton said. “He taught me to rise to the occasion as a professional. Without him, there probably wouldn’t have been a Command Sgt. Major Middleton.”
Following retirement, Kirkpatrick stayed active with the military. He was a member of the 8th Infantry Association, National Guard Association of Illinois and American Legion among other military and veterans service organizations.
“I knew him more through my memberships with the Dorie Miller American Legion Post 915 and The 8th Illinois Infantry Association,” said Lt. Col. Nick Johnson of Evanston, Illinois. “He served in many leadership positions within both organizations, but most notable to me was as the historian for the 8th. He was a wealth of information to me and could always be counted on to tell the 8th’s and battalion’s histories to all whom inquired. He often conducted presentations at local high schools about the regiment and African Americans’ service within the U.S. military.”
The lineage of the Illinois Army National Guard’s 1-178th Infantry Battalion goes back to the 8th Infantry Regiment, a highly decorated African-American unit known for its superior service in World War I and World War II.
Funeral arrangements for Kirkpatrick are still pending.
Governor recognizes Guard’s top marksmen
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner recognized the Illinois National Guard’s top marksmen during a ceremony following The Adjutant General’s Pistol and Rifle Marksmanship Competition at Marseilles Training Center in Marseilles, Aug. 21.
Twenty teams of four Soldiers each from units across the state took part in the week-long competition consisting of multiple shooting scenarios scored for both individual and team points. The top 20 individual scores took honors as the “Governor’s 20” and will later be given an opportunity to tryout for the state’s Small Arms Readiness and Training Team (SARTS).
The 2016 awardees of the Governor’s 20 in order of placement are:
1. Sgt. 1st Class William Gibbs of Litchfield, Illinois, – the 661st Engineer Fire Fighting Team
2. Spc. Mason Roth of Carthage, Illinois, – the 1844th Transportation Company
3. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joseph Nicholas of Cedar Lake, Indiana – Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 106th Aviation Regiment
4. Sgt. William Burleson of Waukegan, Illinois, – Company D, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment
5. Spc. Joshua Doss of Centralia, Illinois, – Company B, 766th Brigade Engineer Battalion
6. Sgt. Timothy James of Palatine, Illinois, – Company B, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment
7. Sgt. 1st Class Kaj Holgersson of Coal Valley, Illinois, – Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 123rd Engineer Battalion
8. Chief Warrant Officer 4 Cameron Stanberry of Arenzville, Illinois, – Joint Forces Headquarters, Illinois
9. Staff Sgt. Colton Love of Shannon, Illinois, – Company A, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment
10. Chief Warrant Officer 4 Keith Koca of Custer Park, Illinois, – Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 106th Aviation Regiment
11. Sgt. Justin Snyder of Monticello, Illinois, – Company B, 634th Brigade Support Battalion
12. Sgt. Joseph Lelys of Auburn, Illinois, – Company C, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment
13. Staff Sgt. John Hunter of Rockton, Illinois, – Company A, 405th Brigade Support Battalion
14. Sgt. Christopher Burbach of Belvedere, Illinois, – Detachment 1, Company A, 766th Engineer Battalion
15. Sgt. Jon Harney of Savoy, Illinois, – Company B, 634th Brigade Support Battalion
16. Sgt. Gino Maldonado of Springfield, Illinois, – the 233rd Military Police Company
17. Sgt. Nolan Murphy of Streator, Illinois, – Company A, 405th Brigade Support Battalion
18. Spc. Zachary Dively of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, – the 661st Engineer Company
19. Sgt. 1st Class Walter Homeier of Edinburg, Illinois, – Headquarters, 129th Regional Training Institute
20. Sgt. Joseph Miller of Petersburg, Illinois, – Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 106th Aviation Regiment
Sgt. 1st Class John Stockton of Springfield a member of the SARTS team and Joint Force Headquarters based in Springfield said that the SARTS team was excited to bring the winners back later in the year to tryout for the team.
“There were a lot of good shooters here this week,” said Stockton. “The team is really looking forward to bringing them back here to tryout and fill in the next state shooting team.”
Rauner recognized the contributions and accomplishments of the Illinois National Guard and the marksmen present before officially tabbing his top 20 marksmen.
“We’re here to celebrate some of the best of the best in marksmanship,” said Rauner. “But in virtually every regard, Illinois has the best battalions and the best units in the National Guard. Congratulations.”