Thursday, October 12, 2000

Kentucky National Guard units changing places




By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WALTON — The mechanics are packing up their tools and the military police are moving into the Kentucky National Guard armory in Walton.

        Detachment One of the 207th Maintenance Company, based in this small Boone County community, will be moved to Frankfort. It will be replaced by this time next year with a newly formed military police company.

        The move is part of a sweeping reorganization of the Guard that changed the makeup of units in 31 communities, the first major restructuring of the state's Guard organization since the middle of the Cold War.

[photo] Staff Sgt. Scott Bond works on a five-ton truck at the Walton armory. The maintenance unit is moving to Frankfort.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        “This is a win-win situation for Northern Kentucky,” said Lt. Col. Phil Miller. “By having a military response unit, this will give us a chance to more quickly respond to requests for assistance from local authorities during times of crisis.”

        In the past, the nearest military police unit to Northern Kentucky had been based in Louisville. That group has assisted with crowd control during Labor Day fireworks and natural disasters such as the recent flooding in Falmouth.

        The about 100 Guard members based in Walton will not be out of a job. They will have an opportunity to be retrained as military police. People who do not qualify for retraining, such as individuals with a criminal record, can transfer to Fort Knox or Frankfort. For those people, it will mean a longer drive to their monthly training exercises.

        “As a whole, we are excited about the change,” said Detachment Sgt. Bob Lainhart, 43, of Elsmere. The 20-year veteran of the group said the Guard members will be asked during their monthly training next weekend if they want to move with the maintenance detachment or be retrained. The training will start before year's end.

        State Adjutant General John R. Groves Jr. has said the changes that he announced Sept. 29 will not cause the Guard a loss of personnel or closure of armories in any of the 47 communities where units are now stationed. Walton is the only Northern Kentucky community where Guard members are based.

        The new military police unit will be authorized to have 116 members. Although the majority of them will be based in Walton, a detachment will be kept in Lexington. Another new military police unit is being created in Richmond, bring the number of military police units in the state to four.

        Lt. Col. Miller said one of the Guard's main missions is to support civil authorities in times of emergencies, such as tornadoes and snow storms.

        He said: “MPs are a very sought after unit when it comes to in-state emergencies.”
       



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