Bill silently signals to another militia member during a night course Saturday, March 13, 2010 in the woods of Odessa, Missouri. Bill and other militia members practiced navigational skills and communicating in the dark during their training.
Randy gathers the other men together to begin militia training Saturday, April 10, 2010 at Bill’s farm in Odessa, Missouri. Bill started this company of the Missouri Militia after training in St. Louis with other branches of the Missouri Militia. Sumpters is a retired army officer and served in Rhodesia for many years, where he met his wife.
Militia members reach out to help adjust the sight on Brian’s AR-15 during training Saturday, May 8, 2010 at Bill’s farm. Although the militia’s main focus is not gun handling or how to shoot, many of the men in the group enjoy exercising gun rights.
Takin' A Break
Joe and Mike share a laugh while relaxing during a lunch break Saturday, March 13, 2010 during a brief before their night operation in Odessa, Missouri. Many of the members in the Missouri Militia are from all corners of Missouri, although some commute from states as far as Illinois and Iowa.
A Missouri Militia member runs up a muddy slope after planting a trip wire during a night operation Saturday, March 13, 2010 in Odesssa, Missouri. The trip wire was installed to warn the team of the approaching “enemy” during a training by setting off a loud crack.
The Missouri Militia is a group of men exercising their constitutional rights to assemble and bear arms. Although many militia groups currently forming in the United States are radical, politically-motivated groups displeased with the government, the Missouri Militia’s main goal is to help the citizens of the state.
The militia’s objective is to assist State Highway Patrol and the National Guard in cases of natural disaster. The group training includes how to perform CPR, tie knots, give an impromptu tracheotomy and quickly apply a gas mask. The group also donates blood often and collects food for food pantries. In the past, the militia has helped in search parties in cases of missing children and laid sandbags and distributed water during floods.
The Missouri Militia is an often misunderstood group and many assume they are gun-toting right wing activities. Although many of the members are conservative libertarians, they express no political agenda during meetings, except in matters involving protection of the constitution and do not require members to take part in any type of political dogma.