- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—TUPELO — National Guard recruiting stations reopened across the state Monday after a brief hiatus in response to the assault on a Marine recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The closings were purposed with a re-assessment of the security measures in place at storefront offices, 10 in total across Mississippi.

“Now we have armed soldiers placed inside the offices,” said Sgt. 1st Class Heath McArthur, who is in charge of National Guard recruiting in Northeast Mississippi. “That’s sort of phase one. We’re looking at implementing others, but I can’t speak on them.”

The Chattanooga attack took place just a few weeks ago, and McArthur hoped the act would not represent the beginning of a trend.

“We’re taking all precautions possible,” he said. “As soldiers, we would rather it happen to us than anyone else, like a school or something.”

In recent weeks, armed civilians have stationed themselves outside military recruiting offices as an extra layer of defense, but have been asked to cease and desist by the adjutant general of Mississippi Maj. Gen. Augustus Collins.

“We want to shut down the possibility for a confusing situation,” McArthur said. “Our location inside the mall has the mall security, so it’s not as big of an issue there.”

A news release from Collins said those who choose to appear at the offices with weapons would be reported to the local authorities. However, with new measures in place, and the station’s doors open once more, McArthur said the spaces are now as safe as ever.

“Recruiting is still going great,” he said. “We encourage all the young patriots out there to come see us.”

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(c)2015 the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo, Miss.)

Visit the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo, Miss.) at www.djournal.com

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