Missouri National Guard

The Missouri National Guard says it is focused on recruiting and retaining more minority soldiers so that its units more closely reflect the communities they serve.
Missouri Army National Guard Recruiting Office | Facebook

The Missouri National Guard reports it has diversified its ranks by 25 percent over the last year, even as some law enforcement agencies around the state have struggled to do so.

Ferguson City Manager John Shaw, left, and Mayor James Knowles on Nov. 30, 2014.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Over the past six months, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III found out what it was like to be transformed from a part-time mayor of a mid-sized suburb to a political figure on the international stage.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles testifies in front of the joint Senate and House committee on Government Accountability on Wednesday.
Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles says his city needed help from the Missouri National Guard but didn’t get it -- and he doesn’t know why.

During more than two hours of testimony Wednesday, a legislative joint committee heard testimony on the state’s response to the grand jury announcement following the shooting death of Michael Brown by former Officer Darren Wilson.

The Missouri General Assembly's Joint Committee on Government Accountability shortly before their meeting Dec. 11, 2014.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

A joint Missouri House and Senate committee is preparing to investigate Gov. Jay Nixon's actions in Ferguson in the aftermath of a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer for fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The committee on governmental accountability met briefly Thursday to appoint chairs and discuss their approach. State Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, said he specifically wants to know why no Missouri National Guard troops were in Ferguson following the grand jury's decision on Nov. 24.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Dec. 2, 2014, at St. Louis Public Radio.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Since August, many people have been asking who’s in charge in Ferguson. Add James Knowles, the city’s mayor, to that list.

In an interview Tuesday with “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh, Knowles said he was kept out of the loop on state and regional efforts, including security and leadership decisions.

Gov. Jay Nixon is calling a special session to pay for the Missouri National Guard and Missouri Highway Patrol's operations in Ferguson and the St. Louis region.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Gov. Jay Nixon plans to call a special session of the Missouri General Assembly to pay for the Missouri National Guard and Missouri Highway Patrol’s operations in Ferguson and the St. Louis region. 

It’s a move that comes amid immense disapproval of how the governor handled the aftermath of a grand jury’s decision to not indict Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown.

One of two county police cars that were burned Monday night in Ferguson 11/24
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 11:30 p.m. Nov. 25)

After a night of rioting and flaming businesses Monday, elected officials and business leaders were reassessing what happened and how to prevent more of it.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon found himself under fire, as critics blasted the low-profile use of National Guardsmen late Monday.

The Missouri National Guard has been called up by Gov. Jay Nixon to assist local police with security after a grand jury decision is announced in the Michael Brown case. Typically, Guard troopers are called in to respond to emergencies, like natural disas
(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/By Carlos J. Lazo)

After he declared a state of emergency, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has been coy about exactly when and how many National Guard troops will come to the St. Louis area ahead of a grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case.

The Missouri Department of Public Safety also declined to give such "operational details" on Wednesday.

But to understand how the National Guard works generally, St. Louis Public Radio reached out to a department spokesman as well as a professor in Department of Military and Veterans Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Ferguson public safety press conference, 11-11-14. Belmar, Dotson, Ron Johnson, Isom, Bret Johnson, Replogle
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

(Updated at 9 p.m., Mon., Nov. 17)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and called out the National Guard to protect “the two pillars: safety and speech’’ that he says could be tested in the aftermath of the grand jury’s decision regarding the August police shooting that killed teenager Michael Brown. 

"Our goal is to keep the peace and allow folks' voices to be heard,'' Nixon said Monday night in a conference call with reporters.

Mo. National Guard

Gov. Jay Nixonhas issued an executive order designed to help prevent military bases in Missouri from being closed or downsized.

The order creates a partnership between state and local officials and business leaders. The goal is for those groups to examine ways to keep and expand the nation's military presence in Missouri.

Mo. National Guard, via Flickr/M. Queiser

The federal government shutdown has now hit the Missouri National Guard.

Late Wednesday, the Guard furloughed nearly a thousand of their 1,400 federal technicians considered to be non-essential.  Spokeswoman, Major Tammy Spicer, says the technicians include both civilian and uniformed staff.

"Full-time federal technicians do a variety of jobs across the state, anything from clerical, to mechanical, to aviation related," Spicer said.

(via Flickr/KurtClark)

During World War II, it was called shell shock. During the Vietnam War it was called the Vietnam Syndrome. It wasn't until 1980 that psychologists had an official term for the condition: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

With the recognition of PTSD as a psychological condition, large-scale studies of the disorder began, said  Dr. Rumi Kato Price, professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine.

"Now we have very well established evidence-based treatments for PTSD," said Price. "That took three decades (to develop)."

(via Flikr/ Sgt. Dajon Schafer, Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs)

For Captain Michelle Matthews, readjusting to home was more difficult than adjusting to war. A reservist with previous active duty experience, Matthews was deployed with the Missouri National Guard to Iraq in December of 2005.

"Life was a lot easier at war in some aspects," said Matthews. "I didn't have to cook, get gas, pay bills. But we were at war."

"We were mortared every day," she added. She described a joke about hearing mortars. If you could hear them, you were good. If you couldn't hear them, then you were in trouble.

(Courtesy of the Post-Dispatch, photo by Renyold Ferguson)

Twenty years ago, the flood of 1993 changed lives up and down the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.

Fifty-five thousand homes and 33,000 businesses were destroyed. Fifty people were killed. Damages totaled in the billions.

But in the midst of the devastation, there were moments of joy, too.

For two former soldiers in the Missouri National Guard, the flood of 1993 marked the start of their lives, together.

This is their story

(via Flickr/The National Guard/M. Queiser/Missouri National Guard)

Members of the Missouri House Budget Committee are proposing a new fund to provide tuition assistance for National Guard members who are also enrolled in college.

The move comes because the federal government has suspended federal tuition assistance for National Guard soldiers due to sequestration cuts.  House Budget Chair Rick Stream (R, Kirkwood) says they’ve reallocated $1.5 million in next year’s state budget to make up the difference.

(provided by the Missouri National Guard)

A solider  in the Missouri National Guard has died of injuries suffered during a training exercise.

Staff Sgt. Robert J. Traxel was providing public affairs support to the Beyond the Horizon mission in Guatemala. The National Guard says the 34-year-old was struck in the head by a tree limb that fell in wind generated by helicopter blades. The incident, which happened Monday, is being investigated.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

The Missouri National Guard reports four of its soldiers stole electronics from a Wal-Mart store while helping recovery efforts after last year's tornado in Joplin.

The Guard released records on the incident to the Joplin Globe on Tuesday after refusing to release them last week, claiming it was exempt from the state's open records law.

The Globe reports that the Guard said three specialists and a sergeant admitted taking electronics such as video games and a camera. The Guard did not release the soldiers' names.

(UPI/Rick Meyer)

Missouri National Guard members have been disciplined for looting in Joplin after the massive tornado.

But the guard has refused to release information about the incidents, saying it's not subject to Missouri's open records law.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the guard didn't respond to requests for details about the looting by citing an exemption to the Missouri Sunshine Law.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Mo. National Guardsmen safe after insurgent attack

All 55 members of a Missouri National Guard agriculture team are safe following an insurgent attack on the forward operating base where they are stationed in Afghanistan.


Critics challenge Mo. measure to limit payday loan interest

The proposed ballot measure would cap interest, fees and charges for payday and car title loans at 36 percent per year.

Critics of the proposal filed a lawsuit in the state Capitol's home of Cole County. The suit contends a ballot summary for the proposal is inadequate and unfair and that the cost estimate for the proposal does not address all the possible costs.

The Missouri National Guard has been called up by Gov. Jay Nixon to assist local police with security after a grand jury decision is announced in the Michael Brown case. Typically, Guard troopers are called in to respond to emergencies, like natural disas
(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/By Carlos J. Lazo)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has directed the National Guard to coordinate efforts against flooding along the Missouri River and its tributaries.

Nixon issued an executive order Wednesday allowing the Missouri National Guard to work with local police and emergency management agencies to ensure that people's homes and property are protected.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 1:51 p.m. April 28:

Via the Associated Press:

The Black River is receding at Poplar Bluff, Mo., and some 1,000 evacuees are now allowed to go home.

Officials in the southeast Missouri community of 17,000 residents on Thursday lifted a mandatory evacuation order for a large section of town, where river water has been pouring over the top of the levee.

Residents in the impacted area can return home whenever they choose.

Many will find a mess left behind by the murky water. Officials don't yet know how many homes were damaged in Poplar Bluff and in a rural area of Butler County also protected by the levee.

The National Weather Service said Thursday that after a crest of 21.4 feet on Tuesday, the Black River at Poplar Bluff was down to 19.1 feet.

Updated 11:14 a.m. April 27:

Via the Associated Press:

The Army Corps of Engineers says it will wait until this weekend to decide whether to intentionally break a southeastern Missouri levee along the Mississippi River.

The Corps has said it may have to blow holes in the Birds Point levee to ease rising waters near the Illinois town of Cairo which sits near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.

Missouri has sued (see 12:58 update) to block the effort because it would swamp farmland. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

But Corps spokesman Bob Anderson tells The Associated Press that even if a judge gives the go-ahead, the agency will wait until it gets a better forecast of the river crests to see if the breach is necessary. That decision isn't likely to come until at least this weekend.

Updated 5:06 p.m. April 26:

Via the Associated Press:

Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is defending the idea of intentionally breaching a Missouri levee to reduce flooding in Cairo.

Missouri officials object to the plan, saying it would endanger 130,000 acres of prime farmland.

But Simon told The Associated Press on Tuesday that farmers will be compensated for their losses and will be able to use the land next year. On the other hand, flooding could devastate the poor town of Cairo.

She noted an Illinois levee was intentionally breached during 1993 flooding.

Simon also says the Army Corps of Engineers would not break the Birds Point levee until water had already topped the levee.

The Corps of Engineers says it will put off a decision until at least Wednesday.

Updated 4:20 p.m. April 26:

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill says she has concerns about the intentional breaching of the levee at Birds Point (via a press release):

“While emergency responders and volunteers work to save lives and protect property as best they can, the Army Corps of Engineers are working to find a solution to alleviate the stress from our levees.  I have grave concerns about the plan to intentionally breach Bird’s Point Levee that is being considered. In the effort to prevent more damage, we may do additional significant harm to the agricultural economy of the region that will last well after the flood waters recede.”

The release says McCaskill has already communicated her concerns with the Army Corps of Engineers' leadership.

  • The snow has started to fall in parts of the St. Louis metropolitan area. The Missouri Department of Transportation is monitoring, re-treating and plowing area roadways. MODOT is urging area motorists to stay off the roads during the winter storm. If you have to travel, MODOT advises drivers to give salt trucks and plows plenty of room.