WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. (08/04/2011)(readMedia)-- Members of the New York Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing welcome Soldiers from the 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters for a deployment exercise this weekend to better prepare New York National Guard forces for a hurricane response in New York.
Dubbed "Operation Rainbow Hurricane," the event centers around the callup, deployment and operation of the 42nd Infantry Division mobile command post from its home station in Troy, N.Y. to the Air National Guard Base at Gabreski.
WHO: New York National Guard Airmen and Soldiers from the 106th Rescue Wing and 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters.
WHAT: Joint hurricane response exercise to improve interoperability, command and control of military responders following a potential hurricane landfall on Long Island.
WHEN: Friday, August 5, 2011 at 11 a.m.
WHERE: Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, Old Riverhead Road, Westhampton Beach
Media Members wishing to cover this event should contact the 106th Rescue Wing Public Affairs Office, Staff Sgt. Eric Miller, no later than 10:30 on August 5 at 631-723-7470 and provide the name (s) of reporters/videographers/photographers who plan to attend in order to gain access to this secure military facility.
The New York Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division, based in Troy, N.Y., serves as the National Guard's Domestic All-Hazards Response Team for the Eastern United States. It is the link between the local National Guard response within a state and the influx of additional National Guard or even federal military forces to assist local authorities following a disaster.
The scenario for this week's "Rainbow Hurricane" provides for a Category Four Hurricane striking Suffolk County. The initial wind damage results in the governor's mobilization of National Guard forces across Long Island, New York City and the Hudson Valley to provide assistance to civil authorities.
As elements of the 106th Rescue Wing evacuate their aircraft out of the path of the hurricane and rapidly return to eastern Long Island to assist in rescue and recovery operations, National Guard forces from across the state prepare to assist local authorities.
Guardian Angels, the pararescue personnel from the wing, routinely train for rescues in hazardous weather conditions overwater or land.
The severe storm damage triggers the request for the 42nd Division to alert, mobilize and deploy to Long Island as the DART Headquarters to command and control response forces and prepare for potential follow-on forces from outside the state.
The division headquarters will use both ground convoys and military air movements to reach Gabreski Air National Guard Base.
The 106th Rescue Wing will host the Army National Guard response force headquarters as a focal point for a potential large-scale response.
The headquarters staff will establish a command post and train with the 106th Rescue Wing personnel to better prepare both units for response missions in the event of a severe hurricane passing over Long Island.
The intent of the training exercise is to evaluate the division headquarters' capabilities, functions and plans to respond to a large-scale hurricane. The exercise will simulate the command and control of upwards of 5,000 military responders for the division headquarters. The commander and staff will train to plan, coordinate and manage the operations, logistics, administration and support necessary to meet local authority needs following the storm's landfall.
The fully-staffed division headquarters mobilized and deployed in 2005 to command and control more than 22,000 Soldiers in Iraq. Simulation exercises since then include the unit's deployment to Cairo, Egypt in 2006 and Hokkaido, Japan in 2009 to train for large-scale command and control of military units in combat. "Rainbow Hurricane" will provide similar homeland security training for the division within the disaster scenario.
Hurricane season officially begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30. This year, government officials anticipate between three and six named hurricanes from an above average Atlantic storm season.
The exercise enhances the ability of New York National Guard Soldiers to reduce the amount of time it takes for rescuers to respond in a disaster.
For more information on hurricane preparedness and what you can do to protect yourself and your family, visit the SEMO website at www.semo.state.ny.us.