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Guardsmen receive training for Homeland Response Force mission

Almost 100 National Guardsmen from Bravo Battery studied for their Homeland Response Force mission over the weekend at the Thomson National Guard Armory.

Soldiers learned to protect themselves as they assist civilian governments. They begin their mission in 2014.

"It's a little more extensive than the typical soldier would get," said Capt. Shane Durham, the local commander.

Staff Sgt. Shannon Richardson of the 78th Homeland Response Force from Marietta, Ga., explained that the nuclear, biological and chemical suits take about six to seven minutes to don and about 20 minutes to remove safely.

Staff Sgt. Bruce Sutherland helped Sgt. Anthony B. Glanton put on the plastic suit and explained how to apply duct tape to effect a complete seal. Sutherland explained why soldiers wear two sets of gloves. He also detailed the decontamination process for soldiers exposed to biological or other threats.

Guardsmen were issued the special plastic suits, boots and other gear for their new mission.

Sutherland also explained the need to carry such ordinary items as baby wipes.

"You are going to get hot, and you are going to sweat," he said. "You will want to have something to remove that dirt."

Sgts. 1st Class Billy Turman and Johnny B. Hearst also were among the staff on hand for the weekend training.

Web posted on Thursday, April 07, 2011

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