Exercise to train nation's new, existing response forces
By Patti Bielling, U.S. Army North PAO and Staff Sgt. Sandra Lucas, Alabama National Guard
- MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING COMPLEX, Ind. — Members of the 51st Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, Michigan Army National Guard, prepare to monitor the area for radiation and other hazards
- CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. — The military’s Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Response Force assumes the mission from state response forces here August 18, 2011...
- MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING COMPLEX, Ind. — Paul Condon, Exercise Control Forward deputy director, U.S. Army North, provides feedback to unit leaders after a training mission...
MONTGOMERY, AL (07/31/2012)(readMedia)--
CAMP ATTERBURY, Indiana – United States Army North is poised to conduct the largest confirmation exercise to date for 9,000 members of the Defense Department's chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear response force in and around Camp Atterbury, Ind.
Exercise Vibrant Response 2013 begins July 25 and will confirm the ability of the three dedicated federal military task forces to organize and employ life-saving and life-sustaining capabilities following a catastrophic CBRN incident.
"The Alabama National Guard will once again confirm our ability to respond in the event of a catastrophic incident," said Maj. Gen. Perry G. Smith, Alabama National Guard adjutant general. "We would like to think that a catastrophic event will never happen. Unfortunately we all know the realities. That said, we will be prepared."
The rigorous exercise will use 11 training areas and airfields spread across 5,000 square miles in southern Indiana and northern Kentucky. During the 19-day training window, Army North will conduct 200 live events at 50 venues and an additional 250 events will occur within a dynamic, computer-simulated environment.
"We will have 350 medical mannequins and 300 civilian role-players to portray injured residents," said Al Garcia of Army North's training directorate. "Along with damaged buildings, rubble piles, wrecked vehicles, smoke and flame effects, they create an incredibly realistic environment for training."
This will be the first confirmation exercise for Joint Task Force – Guardian, which was created as part of a two-year long transformation of the military's homeland CBRN Response Enterprise. This force, comprised of National Guard units from Alabama, Florida and Kentucky, expects to conduct the largest domestic convoy in its history when traveling to the exercise on Aug. 5-6. Smith said that he had no doubt that the Alabama National Guard had the finest task force, commander, officers and noncommissioned officers which would ensure, with their training and preparation, a well-executed convoy and exercise.
Also training during Vibrant Response 13 are two other response forces, commanded by Army North's Joint Task Force – Civil Support, which is based at Fort Eustis, Va., and Task Force 51, which is based at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. All told, units from 25 states and Puerto Rico will be training in the event.
A number of state and federal agencies are also participating, including various National Guard units and teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Technical Nuclear Forensics Task Force.
The Defense Department began transforming the nation's military CBRN response force in 2010 in order to bring more life-saving and life-sustaining capabilities more rapidly to assist civil authorities in responding to a catastrophic incident.
Beginning in 2010, Army North, as the Army component of U.S. Northern Command, analyzed the existing federal response forces and proposed a structure that increased critical assets such as aviation, medical, engineering, logistics and decontamination capabilities – in some cases, adding 3 to 5 times more capability.
Various National Guard elements were also created during the transformation. Nine additional CBRN Enhanced Response Force Packages and 10 Homeland Response Forces were located in regions throughout the United States in order to arrive more rapidly with critical life-saving capabilities. Some of these forces also will train during Vibrant Response 13.
Army North began the Vibrant Response series of exercises in 2008. Planning and conducting the exercise is part of the command's mission to train the nation's military CBRN response capability.
The 850 training support personnel have more than 1,500 years of combined experience, said Daryl Kinman, of Army North's training directorate.
"These are subject-matter experts, scripters, trainers and advisors, who come from a range of public, military and corporate organizations involved in consequence management at all levels – local, state and federal," Kinman said.
In support of Vibrant Response 13, Army North coordinated a large movement of equipment and personnel. This includes 68 military chartered flights and the movement of more than 2,200 pieces of equipment (100,000 short tons), comprising approximately 1,000 ground vehicles, 30 helicopters and 950 truckloads of equipment.
"Training at this level continues to demonstrate the strength and resilience of the Alabama National Guard," said Smith. "We train hard so that we can live up to the National Guard's motto - always ready, always there."
-Full Photo Cutlines-
MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING COMPLEX, Ind. - Paul Condon, Exercise Control
Forward deputy director, U.S. Army North, provides feedback to unit leaders
after a training mission to evacuate "patients" from a nursing home August
19, 2011. Soldiers from the 501st Area Support Medical Company, 86th Combat
Support Hospital, Fort Campbell, Ky., and the 66th Military Police Company,
504th MP Battalion, 42nd MP Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.,
evacuated patients from a nursing home as part of Vibrant Response 12, an
annual U.S. Northern Command field training exercise conducted by U.S. Army
North. The exercise is part of Army North's mission to train the nation's
federal military chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear response
capability. In the exercise scenario, members of the military's 5,200-person
Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Response Force provide
lifesaving and life-sustaining support after a simulated 10-kiloton nuclear
detonation in Cincinnati, Ohio.
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Keith Anderson, Army North PAO)
MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING COMPLEX, Ind. - Members of the 51st Weapons of
Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, Michigan Army National Guard, prepare to
monitor the area for radiation and other hazards after a simulated 10-kiloton
nuclear detonation here August 16, 2011 for Vibrant Response 12. The exercise
is a multi-agency, multi-component exercise conducted by U.S. Army North to
prepare federal military forces for their role in responding to a
catastrophic chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident in the
homeland. The exercise brings together more than 7,000 Soldiers, Sailors,
Airmen, Marines and Department of Defense civilians to rehearse DoD support
to civil authorities in a consequence management role. (U.S. Army photo by
Staff Sgt. Keith Anderson, Army North PAO)
MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING COMPLEX, Ind. - Air National Guard Fatality Search
and Recovery Team members collect a simulated casualty from a collapsed
parking garage here August 18, 2011 and loads the casualty onto a sked as
part of Vibrant Response 12, a U.S.
Northern Command field training exercise conducted by U.S. Army North.
(From left to right) Senior Airman Kevin Woodard, 123rd FSART, Ky.
ANG; Tech. Sgt. Brittany Ingram, 123rd FSART, Ky. ANG; Staff Sgt.
Jeffrey Feliciano, 156th FSART, P.R. ANG; and Staff Sgt. Jason Gallegos,
140th FSART, Colo. ANG. The multi-agency, multi-component exercise is part of
Army North's mission to prepare federal military forces for their role in
responding to a catastrophic chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear
incident in the homeland. (U.S.Army photo by Staff Sgt. Keith Anderson, Army
CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - The military's Defense Chemical, Biological,
Radiological and Nuclear Response Force assumes the mission from state
response forces here August 18, 2011 as a rehearsal of the DoD's tiered
response capabilities in Vibrant Response 12, an annual U.S.
Northern Command field training exercise conducted by U.S. Army North.
Within hours of arriving, the DCRF was performing search and extraction
missions at Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex. Service members worked late
into the night after a small explosion at the training refinery at MUTC
simulated large-scale explosions, and responders had to perform mass casualty
and decontamination for the "victims" of the refinery explosions. (U.S. Army
photo by Staff Sgt.
Keith Anderson, Army North PAO)