Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Battle Anniversary and a Trip to Antietam with LE

Park Ranger Vehicle
What a summer it has been, and I finally realized at the end of my 5th week here at Gettysburg that it is half way over! But as each week passes, the more myself and my fellow ProRangers at other parks are learning and being able to add the skills we are learning to our tool belt. With saying that, my fifth week would be spent with law enforcement, and I learned more in one week then I would have thought. My first day would be spent with seasonal LE Ranger John Ludwick, who would teach me the ins and outs of radar, how to judge car speeds, EMS, how he does his traffic stops, and much more. But first before we went out on patrol, we had to find some inventory for our administrative staff to help them out! So we searched high and low for what we needed to find, and knocked a good amount off the list, which administration was very thankful for, as we all get something good out of helping another division out with tasks.

Ride for the Anniversary Weekend

We then headed out and did a traffic stop for speeding, as Ranger Ludwick was showing me how to use the radar, how to lock in speeds, then the procedure of making the stop. It was a great experience running radar, especially with Ranger Ludwick, who is a great teacher and better Ranger. Everyone has their own small things they incorporate during a stop, so every piece of advice for me to try from all of the LE rangers here are getting added to my tool belt. The rest of the day was spent patrolling the park, and me asking him many questions that will help me become a better ranger in the future, and I was very thankful for the time and advice I got while riding along that day with him. The next day I was with LE Ranger John Sherman, as we would patrol the park and conduct traffic stops with a different kind of radar that his car is equipped with. Again I spent the day talking and asking Ranger Sherman about how he does certain tasks, and what the best path would be for to reach the goals I want to when I eventually get into the NPS as a LE officer.

My driveway as a parking lot on
Anniversary Weekend
Then finally, Battle Anniversary weekend is upon us! What the battle anniversary is for us when the battle took place at Gettysburg, we celebrate it by putting on special programs over the three days for visitors that want to get a better interaction with what took place on those days of the battle. For those that don’t know, the battle took place July 1,2,3 of 1863, so this year is our 153rd anniversary of the battle. My task for the weekend, along with our other LE Intern Mike, was to manage parking and traffic throughout the park where the programs were taking place.  This may seem like an easy task to some, but it was quite a task at times when cars would come in droves. But we were able to manage it, and learn the easiest ways to deal with it, while eliminating some other ideas we had that didn’t work. By the end of the weekend we were pros, and were told by the Rangers that we did a great job throughout the weekend. While not parking cars, we were also tasked to patrol the park and watch for any other traffic problems or criminal activity, while the other rangers were doing road blocks or EMS tasks. While we didn’t see anything, it was nice being able to roam the park, and interact with visitors and help them with any questions they had about the park or the special events going on that day. Overall, battle anniversary was a great experience that I am happy I was able to partake and help with, and will definitely see myself coming back to help with in the future!

Angelo and I working the Fireworks Show
On Saturday the 2nd, I was able to go on a special detail with our Chief Ranger Jeremy Murphy down to Antietam National Battlefield to help with their firework concert/show, and work with fellow ProRanger Angelo! It was a nice hour or so drive down, and was a good time to get know my Chief ranger better, and ask questions about different divisions within the National Park Service that I am interested in and learn more about. I was able to get a lot of information, and was also able to get to know Chief Murphy more. Going down, I was expecting this show to only have about five to ten thousand people there. Well what I didn’t realize was that this is a huge event for them, and that the crowd would be about fifteen to twenty thousand people. When we got down to Antietam, we went to the visitor center observation deck, which was where the HQ/check in area was. After checking in, I was introduced by Chief Murphy to other Chief Rangers from nearby parks that were there to help with the event, as well as other rangers who were pulled in to help with the event. We then got briefed by Antietam Chief Ranger on the event, what to look out for, and then were sent to our posts. This is where I finally meet up with Angelo, and caught up with him. Our duty for the night was to park cars, and make sure everyone got out safely. Again, let’s just say by the end of the night, we were pros. The concert was great, fireworks were amazing, and a flyover by the US Air Force definitely capped off a great week for me! I hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July weekend, and hope you continue to read throughout the rest of the summer! God Bless the USA!

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