SAN DIEGO – A bottle of brake fluid and a bag of pool chlorine can stay harmless when stored safely in a garage. When you combine the two, the polyethylene glycol mixed with the calcium hypochlorite will seem quiet at first. Two minutes later, the chemical reaction of the two will ignite a spark, and an 8-foot flame will shoot in the air. This was one of the demonstrations taught by the FBI to Army Reserve Soldiers during Guardian Shield at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar, California.
Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) special agents, military police and Soldiers from the 200th Military Police Command spent two weeks training with the FBI on homemade explosives, post blast investigation, surveillance detection, FBI profiling and hostage negotiation. Soldiers also had the opportunity to train on criminal intelligence, logistics security, drivers training and combat lifesaver.
“Guardian Shield is a United States Army Reserve CID special agent and federal law enforcement-focused training event,” said Special Agent David Knudson, a special agent and battalion operations officer for the 393rd Military Police Battalion (CID). “Guardian Shield is a training program on steroids designed to mentally and physically challenge U.S. Army CID special agents in a fluid and realistic training environment.”
“Guardian Shield provides both classroom training through presentations by subject matter experts from our joint partners and hands-on field training with multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies,” added Knudson.
CID agents have worked with the FBI for many years in providing training not taught at the U.S. Army Military Police School. Guardian Shield is training that has been done annually for the past 12 years. For this year, it was held in MCAS Miramar and Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, taking soldiers from military police battalions to one location to conduct the training as a whole.
“They (FBI) have been very enthusiastic in working in cooperation with us for several years,” said Special Agent Nick Taylor, First Sergeant of the 393rd.
Many of the agents also have careers in law enforcement.
“All of the training that is conducted benefits those who have civilian jobs in law enforcement,” added Taylor.
The agents also had the opportunity to train alongside Marines and local law enforcement agencies. Army Reserve CIDs do not usually work on cases alone, whether in garrison or overseas supporting a theater of operation.
“We are able to work with lessons learned that they have seen,” said Taylor. “We know what occurs on the military bases through lessons learned from other agencies. When the Marine Corps is in theater, we can go back and forth on seeing the differences. Things do migrate in theater where an issue can start in one part of the country and move elsewhere.”
“The input helps to enhance the relevancy and realism of the training lane and is particularly beneficial to new Agents who lack those experiences and provides a network of professionals that will offer lifelong support as subject matter experts and point of contacts for their agencies,” said Knudson.
All of the Soldiers were split into different lanes and in some cases obtaining a national level certification. Students who attended the homemade explosives class were actually the first agents in the history of CID and the Army Reserve to do so.
“This is typically only reserved for bomb technicians and special operations forces,” said Knudson. “The FBI Post Blast course trains our agents in evidence collection techniques after an explosion has occurred.”
Special Agent Joseph Philbin, a CID agent with the 348th Military Police Detachment (CID), thinks this training will benefit him both as an Army Reserve Soldier and also as a detective with the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department.
“CID is a small community, and we can create a network system,” said Philbin. “Most of the training we get is after a crime. This is one of the first (training) where we can get ahead of the crime and stop something before it happens.”
Soldiers also had the opportunity to train on their Army Warrior Tasks as well. They spent a week on driver’s licensing and combat lifesaver certification.
“CLS is always imperative, and I think is one of the most important skills a soldier could have,” said Taylor. “Whether you are an agent or a member of the staff, it is a necessity. There is a need to be a Soldier first, whether you are doing protective service or criminal investigation. There is always a need to ensure that you are prepared and ready to act if needed.”
Taylor first joined the Army as a military policeman then reclassified to CID, giving him the opportunity to expand the field of law enforcement. He looks forward to planning Guardian Shield every year as it gives the best training for a CID unit.
“This field is one of the greatest opportunities I had in the Army,” said Taylor. “CID is the military equivalent to the secret service. We are trained to a high standard.”
Taylor along with the other agents in the unit take dedication with their occupational specialty, not only during Guardian Shield but also during training at their home stations and their civilian jobs. They all live up to the CID motto: “Do what has to be done.”