Nearly 100 National Guard military police Soldiers underwent chemical defense training at Fort Leonard Wood's Chemical Defense Training Facility recently.

The Soldiers, members of the 1175th Military Police Company's Homeland Response Force are based out of St. Clair and St. Louis, Mo.

"Our time at the CDTF was an outstanding opportunity to solidify our Homeland Response Force training and provide confidence in our equipment," said Capt. Scott Wolf, commander, 1175th MP Co.

"It offered real-world experience in a lethal environment that could not be matched anywhere else. Our Soldiers were highly motivated, and credit goes to the CDTF staff for making this an excellent training opportunity for us," Wolf added.

The Soldiers were given medical exams and initially took part in basic safety instruction sessions. Each was fitted with protective equipment, including a service lightweight integrated suit and the M50 protective mask.

They walked through the training bays before engaging in a more realistic approach.

"At first, I was hesitant to attend the live-nerve agent training, but the outcome left me with a high level of confidence in the M50 protective mask," said Spc. Sarah Mitchell, HRF team member.

In each training scenario, the Soldiers were taught to detect and identify various chemical agents. Alarms signaled the seriousness of the live agent training, and Soldiers responded with the training techniques they received from the CDTF staff.

That was followed by decontaminating both the Soldiers and equipment. The day ended with a medical screening and an after-action review.

"The CDTF's outstanding training helps to prepare us both mentally and physically for a Homeland Response Force Mission," said Staff Sgt. Richard Tienter, squad leader.

It may have been the first such training for the HRF, but CDTF officials are open to more.

"The experience gave the MP Soldiers a dynamic training opportunity to gain confidence in themselves and the equipment used in a live-nerve agent and toxic-chemical environment," said Capt. Michael Tompkins, CDTF operational officer.

"We hope it is not the last and look forward to any HRF training opportunities that may take place in the future," Tompkins said.

(Editor's note: Barginear is the detachment readiness noncommissioned officer, 1175th MP Co.)