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Wed, Oct. 23

Oath Keepers preps teams, citizens for natural or manmade disasters

Medical Team leader Elizabeth Billi, center, of Williamson Valley, talks with her group about supply needs on May 23 at an Oath Keepers meeting held at the Chino Valley American Legion Hall.(Salina Sialega/Special to the Tribune)

Medical Team leader Elizabeth Billi, center, of Williamson Valley, talks with her group about supply needs on May 23 at an Oath Keepers meeting held at the Chino Valley American Legion Hall.(Salina Sialega/Special to the Tribune)

Oath Keepers is a nationwide non-partisan association that has Community Preparedness Teams (CPT) whose members work to get trained and ready to help in times of disaster to individual communities. In addition, the association supports FEMA's approach to disasters that says all citizens should be prepared for "self-rescue and self-supply" for at least 72 hours.

The quad-city area Oath Keepers chapter, led by its president, Jim Arroyo, meets monthly for training and organizing its five CPT teams of Emergency Medical, Emergency Communications, Security/Team Tactics, Emergency Engineering and General Preparedness. Meetings also include guest speakers, such Dave Hodges at the May 23 meeting at the Chino Valley American Legion Hall..

About 75 people attended the May 23 meeting, including Frank and Judy Davidson of Dewey. Frank sees the organization as one that encourages people to plan ahead.

"I don't like the way our country is being run. This is a group that organizes in the case of a problem, anything from a fire, flood or civil unrest. We take care of ourselves."

"I'm basically concerned that we can't rely on our government and must protect ourselves and the community."

Arroyo also serves as the Arizona State Oath Keepers vice president and CPT State director. The Yavapai County chapter began in January 2014. Arroyo is an Army Ranger veteran who was part of a team that carried out a hostage rescue in Iran in 1980. With Oath Keepers, Arroyo works with local government officials, and fire, sheriff and emergency leaders.

"We are creating a team to form an infrastructure to prepare the community itself in case the economy tanks, a socio-economic collapse," Arroyo said. That's where the CPT teams come in.

Oath Keepers began in April 2009 by Stewart Rhodes, a former U.S. Army paratrooper who was disabled in a night jump accident. He is a former firearms instructor, former member of Rep. Ron Paul's DC staff, a volunteer firefighter in Montana, and a Yale Law School graduate in 2004. The organization is made up of military and first responders, whether active, veteran or retired, who took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, as well as like-minded citizens who support the association's mission. People can get more information at their website at www.oathkeepers.org.

The association brochure states, "We hope for a return to the Constitutional Republic free from fear and hatred. We hate only tyranny. You may someday find yourselves as the last bulwark against that tyranny." It says they want "all public servants to live up to their oath to 'support and defend the Constitution,' as it is written."

The CPT General Preparedness Team helps citizens organize for extended periods of self-supply, such as storing food.

The local Medical Team, led by Elizabeth Billi of Williamson Valley and the Communications team, led by Steve Cornelius of Chino Valley, met with eight to 10 team members May 23 to talk about supplies they may need. Medical teams train to provide immediate care for victims of severe trauma, such as car accidents, gunshot wounds, and other injuries. The Communications team emphasizes that every citizen needs to have at least a hand-held HAM radio and the knowledge to use it for local communications.

The Security Team, led by Dan (who didn't want to give his last name), maintains that in homes and neighborhoods, citizens should know how to defend themselves and work as a team when attacked, especially by an organized enemy. As retired military, Dan wants to protect freedom, and sees positive work being done in Oath Keepers.

"I feel that our freedom is at stake; we pretty much are backed against the wall," Dan said.

"The Security element is not a military," Arroyo clarified. "It's designed in case of a disaster, whether natural or manmade. And it's a major part of the CPT program."

Emergency Engineering involves finding the basics in a natural disaster or large social "breakdown," - shelter, clean water, alternative power, transportation and delivery of supplies and the ability to deal the fire dangers and hazardous materials.

Hodges spoke about threats people can research and learn more about, such as Operation Jade Helm, economic take-over plans, war threats, terrorists, martial law, and other topics.

Hodges is from an area between Wickenburg and Surprise, south of Prescott, has a radio show called the Common Sense Show. He has a website for his radio show at www.thecommonsenseshow.com and his show is online daily from 5-8 p.m.

The chapter meets the second and fourth Saturdays each month from 2-4 p.m. at the Chino Valley American Legion Hall on east Road 3 South, and the third Saturday in Prescott Valley. Call Arroyo for more information at 636-8895. The organization operates on donations for informational literature, team supplies and other needs.

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