By Spc. Scott Raper, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
[caption id="attachment_3409" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Sgt. Adam R. Zuniga from HHB 2/138th Field Artillery Brigade is passed by a driving team at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky., Oct. 7. Members of the Kentucky National Guard joined with local law enforcement to provide security at the international event held at the Kentucky Horse Park."]
LEXINGTON, Ky. (October 13, 2010) – Nearly 85 Kentucky National guard Soldiers assisted with the security at the World Equestrian Games held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Sept. 25 through Oct. 10. Their mission was to ensure that each day of the 16-day event was as safe and enjoyable as possible for all in attendance. Visitors and competitors came from countries spanning the globe as these Games are an international experience.
“It is a once in a lifetime event and a great opportunity for the Guard to interact with people of other countries and learn a little about other cultures,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Young of the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery.
[caption id="attachment_3405" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Staff Sgt. Joseph Young of the 2/138th Field Artillery Brigade mans his assigned checkpoint during the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky., Oct. 6. Members of the Kentucky National Guard joined with local law enforcement to provide security during the 16 day event held at the Kentucky Horse Park."]
According to Lt. Col. Tim Fanter, 2/138th administration officer, over 300 Guardsmen volunteered for duty during the games. About 80 were chosen to support the overall mission. To accomplish the task, the Soldiers were put through a three-day train up prior to the opening day. Each Soldier had to qualify with an M-9 pistol, the standard sidearm of security personnel. Instruction on the rules and escalation of force was provided training was also conducted on media relations, with a reminder that many of the journalists and news crews covering the event were from foreign agencies. With nearly 60 countries represented at the games, the Guardsmen were given a course in cultural awareness, to be respectful and mindful of their ambassador-like role.
“Soldiers understand their job here. It was made painfully clear that they are not only representing their brigade and the Kentucky National Guard, and their state, but they are representing the nation,” said Fanter.
A plan for security operations had to be designed and implemented for traffic flow and pedestrian routes. Scheduling for three shifts a day was ironed out to provide smooth overlapping coverage throughout the mission. And by the opening ceremonies each and every Soldier knew where to be, when to be there and what their job was during their shift.
“The preparation took six to eight months of planning and the result has been a seamless operation with minimal impact to both the visitors and competitors,” Fanter added.