600 Central and Western NY National Guard Troops Conduct Disaster Response Training this Weekend

Validation Exercise at Joint Base Dix Maguire Lakehurst prepare troops for Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear Response

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New York Army National Guard Soldiers of the Homeland Response Force for FEMA Region 2 move a simulated casualty towards decontamination during an exercise at Oriskany, September 7, 2019.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (11/14/2019) (readMedia)-- A regional disaster response force of more than 600 National Guardsmen led by the New York National Guard's 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters deploy to Joint Base Maguire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey this weekend for a unit full-scale exercise in disaster response.

The Soldiers and Airmen, predominantly from Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, are part of a regional disaster response force trained to respond to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear (CBRN) incident. The complete force includes some 600 personnel and is known as a National Guard Homeland Response Force (HRF).

The brigade headquarters' role in the validation exercise November 15-16 is to provide the leadership and command of the response force, an organization scalable in size up to 1,500 personnel with specialized CBRN response training.

The New York National Guard's Homeland Response Force (HRF) is one of ten established by the Department of Defense to serve as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Consequence Management Response force.

The Homeland Response Force consists of about 600 Soldiers and Airmen of the National Guard with expertise in search and extraction of disaster victims, incident site security, decontamination, medical treatment and command and control of the mission.

The HRF is the focal point for increasing response flexibility and lifesaving efforts of local authorities after a CBRNE incident in the states supported by FEMA Region 2.

The team trains under Defense Department guidelines to respond within a 6-12 hour window to local authorities after a WMD or other hazardous materials incident requiring assistance from federal military resources. The force is primarily equipped to respond via ground transport to an incident site, but is capable of air transportation to support all the states or territories responding to a CBRNE event.

The core of each HRF is a CBRN capability augmented with additional command and control and security capability. This allows for the force to expand as an incident may require.

At the same time, these National Guard forces must be prepared to provide trained and ready troops to support overseas contingency operations as needed.

The training culminates a year-long preparation for the troops to be certified for the HRF mission. The units include:

• The 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters, based in Syracuse, N.Y. to provide command and control

• Air National Guard communications personnel from the 105th Airlift Wing, based in Newburgh, N.Y. and the 107th Attack Wing, based in Niagara Falls, N.Y., providing Joint Incident Site Communications Capability (JISCC).

• New Jersey Army National Guard Soldiers from the 154th Quartermaster Company from New Egypt, N.Y. and 50th Chemical Company from Somerset, N.Y., providing a Casualty Assistance and Security Element.

• A New York Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear response task force headquarters from the 153nd Brigade Engineer Battalion command and staff, based in Buffalo, N.Y.

• Decontamination Element personnel from the 642nd Support Battalion, based in Rochester, N.Y.

• Search and Extraction Element Soldiers from B Company, 152nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, based at Lockport, N.Y.

• A medical triage element from the Airman of the 105th Airlift Wing, based in Newburgh, N.Y.

• A Fatality Search and Recovery Team (FSRT) comprised of Airmen of the 107th Attack Wing, based in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

The HRF is designed to foster increased dialogue between regional first responders and other state and federal response agencies. The HRF plays an important role at the regional level in helping develop and build regional plans and in working with emergency managers to build a cohesive government response to CBRN incidents at the regional level.