Oklahoma Guardsmen Train To Carry Weapon On Job

Wednesday, August 12th 2015, 6:17 pm
By: News On 6

There are plans to arm some members of the Oklahoma National Guard after a man killed five members of the military at a Tennessee recruiting office last month.

The Oklahoma National Guard is preparing some of its members to wear weapons on the job, and they’re taking their training to the next level.

Colonel Max Moss said, "Unfortunately, that's our new reality. Our new reality is, is that if you are wearing the uniform of our country, you're a potential target for radicals that would do us harm.”

Five members of the U.S. military shot and killed at a recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee back in July have prompted a change in military protocol in states across the nation, and Oklahoma is the first.

7/16/2015 Related Story: Four Marines Killed In Attacks On Chattanooga Military Facilities

Governor Mary Fallin announced the day after the shooting that Oklahoma would arm its service members while on the job.

Currently, the Oklahoma National Guard is training select members in use of force, shoot don't shoot techniques and weapon retention - the same training taught to law enforcement.

7/21/2015 Related Story: Oklahoma National Guard Taking Steps To Arm Personnel

Lieutenant Colonel Tony Georgiades said, "I think the public will be more secure because of the training we're giving our soldiers."

Georgiades is Oklahoma National Guard's anti-terrorist force protection officer. He's served in the guard and as a civilian parole officer and knows the value of the different types of training - the difference between combat and wearing weapons here at home.

“It's pretty hard training. When we get to the weapon retention we're talking six hours straight through training, physical activity, then several hours in the classroom and on the range. They also have to qualify on a higher level than law enforcement would," he said.

The plan is to have armed members of the military at all National Guard installments, including recruiting offices.

It’s an unfortunate new reality the Oklahoma National Guard says is now just the climate our men and women in uniform have to live in.

The National Guard said they are in the process of implementing the governor’s orders and that there are already some armed military members at facilities across the state.