News: 181st Intelligence Wing hones natural disaster response skills
Story by Maj. Frank Howard
TERRE HAUTE, Ind.—On April 14, 2013, airmen from the 181st Intelligence Wing Medical Group Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) Element and Force Support Squadron Fatalities Search and Recovery Team (FSRT), Hulman Field Air National Guard Base, Ind., embarked three U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules and one U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft to Camp Gruber, Okla., for Exercise Vigilant Guard as part of the 19th CERFP.
Vigilant Guard is an exercise program sponsored by U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) in conjunction with National Guard Bureau. This exercise provided the 181st IW an opportunity train in a complex environment which includes military joint forces as well as state and federal agencies.
“The exercise provided live participants, realistic buildings and structures, as well as rubble for 181st Intelligence Wing members to train,” stated Air Force Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Galloway, 181st IW FSRT. “During times of crisis the FSRT assists in the extraction and care of causalities.”
The focus of the exercise was to respond to a New Madrid Earthquake scenario which is a Magnitude 7.7 earthquake with the epicenter located in the vicinity of Marked Tree, Ark. This event replicated a natural disaster that affects areas in the northeast corner of the State.
“The 181st Intelligence Wing Medical Group provides first line triage and care to disaster victims,” stated Air Force Maj. Laura Flood, 181st IW Medical Group. “Exercises like Vigilant Guard provide participants an idea of what a real world event would be like and how to react.”
The 181st IW State mission involves Defense Support to Civil Authorities. As part of the State mission, the 18 IW Medical Group CERFP Element and 181 IW FSRT Airmen routinely train and practice with state and federal first responders.
“The 181st plays a key role in CERFP because of its strategic location and well-maintained runways,” according to Col. Bonte, 181 IW Commander. “This mission also demonstrates the Wing’s readiness and reliability in providing support to the local community in times of crisis.”