AUGUSTA, Mich. –
The Michigan Army National Guard Annual Training (AT) is in full swing, which is used to provide structured individual and unit training to satisfy the training requirements associated with their missions. During AT, weapons qualification is usually on the docket.
“We’re getting individual Soldiers weapons qualified through our annual training program,” said 2nd Lt. Hunter Morgan, 1776th Military Police Company, Michigan Army National Guard. “We have a series of ranges that include the M4, M9, M240B and M249 machine gun ranges.”
“We are also familiarization firing shot guns as well, which is part of their weapons systems assigned to them,” he added.
An estimated 70 Soldiers from the MP Company are taking part in this training. Military police serve as key enablers for commanders and aid in support of freedom of maneuver, decisive action, promotion of the rule of law, and the ability to protect the force and our families at home and abroad. This training is vital to that mission.
“This training allows our Soldiers to be ready so that when deployments come up, we are ready to send Soldiers from the military police battalion down range and ready to support any missions assigned to us," said Morgan.
Prior to the beginning of training, the unit also practiced COVID-19 mitigation procedures and are following the appropriate guidance.
“We continue to comply with Department of Defense Guidance,” said Morgan. “When we first came on AT orders, we were all COVID-19 rapid tested and all tests came back negative and when we’re outside and not in confined spaces, we are without a mask.”
“We have buildings that require the use of masks but if you have a vaccination post-15 days, you are not required to wear a mask,” he added.
Being part of an MP organization helped fulfill one Soldier’s desire to serve in the law enforcement career field. In September 2019 and at age 29, Spc. Nicholas Ray, from Clinton Township, enlisted in 1776th MP Company, and headed off to basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
“I was just getting ready to turn 30 and knew it was now or never,” he said. “I always wanted to join and never fell into the right spot until 2019 and when an opportunity came, I went for it.”
Ray, who first attended college, earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and attended a local police academy in order to fill his dreams of working in law enforcement. He later shifted his focus to the MP career field.
“I always wanted to be an MP and always wanted to do some sort of police work,” he said. “I joined the MP unit and I love it.”
The Michigan National Guard has provided additional benefits, which Ray is utilizing.
“The National Guard helped with the student loans under the Student Loan Repayment Program,” he said. “Every year, I have to submit a packet of my loans to the unit and the Guard pays it.”
“Before the Guard, I was paying my loans and now the Guard pays it—almost $30,000.00,” he said.
Another benefit for Guard members is health insurance.
“I am using the Tricare Reserve Select (TRS) through the Guard,” said Ray. “I was using my employer’s insurance and TRS is better, less expensive, and lower deductibles,” he said.
He isn’t the first in his family to serve. His grandfather served in the Navy in Korea and his cousin served in the Army in Iraq. Although Ray hasn’t deployed overseas, he has served his nation during recent mobilizations.
“This is a sense of calling and duty,” he said. “I was mobilized for the recent D.C. and Kenosha, Wisconsin missions.”
“I wanted to travel and have seen different parts of the United States already and I am only a year and half in my enlistment,” he said.
Individuals looking for more information about how serving in the Michigan Army or Air National Guard can offer great opportunities are encouraged to contact recruiters at: Michigan Army National Guard recruiting, www.miarmyguard.com, 888-906-1636, the Michigan Army National Guard app, or Michigan Air National Guard recruiting, 1-800-432-4296 or Facebook at https://facebook.com/MIANGRecruiting/.