By Staff Sgt. Thea James, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
SHREVEPORT, La. – Camp Minden is a Louisiana National Guard training site located approximately 18 miles east of Shreveport, Louisiana, that plays a major role in the state mission to provide support to Louisiana residents in the event of a state or local emergency.
Camp Minden is home to not only units of the 199th Regiment (Regional Training Institute), the 139th Regional Support Group, Recruiting and Retention Command, the Youth Challenge Program (YCP) and the Industrial Complex, it also serves as the Joint Reception, Staging and Onward Integration (JRSOI) for Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) units during emergency response events.
Camp Minden encompasses about 15,000 acres of land, with approximately 52 miles of railroad tracks and 60-65 paved roads, which is used to train and prepare soldiers for their jobs and potential emergency response missions.
“Our top customers are the soldiers in training,” said retired Master Sgt. Robert Cooper, Camp Minden’s operations manager.
Minden’s RTI is responsible for training a plethora of soldiers in their Military Occupational Specialties (MOS), such as: 88M Motor Transport Operators, 12N Horizontal Construction Engineers and 12W Carpentry and Masonry Specialists.
Minden, with its reserved storage areas, acts as a staging area and distribution point for emergency response commodities and supplies. These warehouses store hundreds of pallets of rations, water and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in preparation for an emergency. The expansive infrastructure available on Camp Minden helps resolve large storage challenges presented during state emergencies.
LANG brings great capability and flexibility to all disaster response efforts to include the COVID 19 pandemic.
“Transportation assets, National Guard drivers and warehouse logistics specialists were expanded on the post as inventory levels of PPE grew, drastically increasing our efficiency and shortening response times to citizens in the area,” said retired Col. Pat Griffin, ESF-7 unified logistics director.
Camp Minden is a secure military installation making it an asset to units passing through the area. Minden has a large multipurpose-overnight rest site that can be used for EMAC forces, units performing annual training or units passing through.
The bays, with more than 100 bunkbeds, are equipped with electricity, good circulation, and a large area for showers. Camp Minden is the ideal location for JRSOI operations. JRSOI incorporates the reception of the strategic reserve EMAC forces, in-process and integrate them with their gaining units to contribute to emergency response efforts.
“We’ve developed our facilities to accommodate EMAC forces in order to provide a doctrinal environment for them to be able to be successful,” said Col. Willis B. Hall, commander of the 199th Regiment (RTI).
The response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita showcased the largest deployment of state-to-state aid and is a testament to the EMAC’s effectiveness in sharing resources through mutual aid agreements.
Camp Minden is also the primary staging area for high-water rescue vehicles, boats and commodity distribution during state emergencies. “It’s a good place to do emergency relief because we won’t flood; parish agencies can come in and out to pick up commodities,” said Post Sgt. Maj. Steven Stuckey, a Shreveport, La. native.
The drainage systems make Camp Minden a recommended spot to store and safeguard commodities. Drainage is directed south into Lake Bistineau via Boone Creek and Bayou Dorcheat in the east and Caney Branch and Clarke Bayou in the west.
“For us, maintaining a safe and effective place so we can best serve our citizens in time of crisis is critical,” said Post Commander Lt. Col Harry Wilson.