News Icon

News: Pa. National Guard begins planning with partners for emergency-preparedness exercise Vigilant Guard

Story by Maj. Angela King-SweigartSmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon

Pennsylvania National Guard begins planning with partners for emergency-preparedness exercise Vigilant Guard Tom Cherry

Col. Artūras Račkauskas, deputy director of the fire and rescue department of Lithuania and Bob Edmiston, Fort Indiantown Gap Fire Chief discuss firefighting during a tour of the fire station. The Lithuanian delegation also visited the Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center, the Mount Joy Volunteer Fire Department and the Harrisburg Area Community College Training Area. Both agencies are participating in Vigilant Guard, an emergency preparedness exercise hosted by the Pennsylvania National Guard. Photo by Tom Cherry.

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – The Pennsylvania National Guard headquarters, along with Lithuanian armed forces and other civilian agencies, are preparing for the U.S. Northern Command and the National Guard Bureau's Vigilant Guard 2014 exercise Aug. 28-29.

The multi-component training exercise is intended to improve communication and operational relationships between civilian, federal, and military partners in preparation for catastrophic emergencies.

The exercise will include an estimated 2,500 Guard members from several states and territories including West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Florida, as well as 21 civilian agencies like Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Department of Agriculture and the Lithuanian Fire and Rescue, according Lt. Col. Alan Ornoski, Joint strategic plans officer for the Pennsylvania National Guard.

The simulated event will kick off with a severe weather emergency, like a hurricane. Events from the storm would trigger several other events, such as a cyber security incident, or the need to evacuate residents.

“It is a great opportunity to work with our interagency partners at the international, federal, state and local agencies,” said Ornoski. “We want to continue to build relationships while exercising our command-and-control systems to respond to a catastrophic event.”

Members of the Lithuanian armed forces and civilian agencies are also looking forward to observing and participating in the exercise.

The Pennsylvania National Guard has a 20-year relationship with Lithuania in the National Guard’s State Partnership Program.

“Lithuania is fortunate in that we are a relatively safe country,” said Col. Artūras Račkauskas, deputy director of the fire and rescue department, under the ministry of the interior of Lithuania. “But, we still have wildfires, floods, and other events that require mass evacuations. This exercise will enable us to become more knowledgeable on how to manage these large-scale events.”

“We are embedding with the Joint Force Headquarters during the exercise,” added Maj. Vaidotas Šidlauskas, military training and planning officer, Joint Headquarters, Lithuanian Armed Forces. “In Lithuania, the armed forces are called out to assist in civil-military operations. For example, we were called out to help combat forest fires, and an area of our nation is subject to frequent flooding.”

The planning phase of the exercise will continue into next year with the agencies meeting several more times to solidify plans.

This is the first time the Pennsylvania National Guard has hosted the biannual exercise which is held with varying scenarios, in different states.

For more information on the state partnership program in Pennsylvania visit: http://pa.ng.mil/JFHQ/Pages/InternationalAffairs.aspx

For more information about the Pennsylvania National Guard visit: http://pa.ng.mil

For more information about Fort Indiantown Gap visit: http://ftig.ng.mil

Like Fort Indiantown Gap and the Pennsylvania National Guard on Facebook, join the conversation!

https://www.facebook.com/ftindiantowngap

https://www.facebook.com/PANationalGuard


Connected Media
ImagesPennsylvania National...
Lt. Col. Alan Ornoski, J5 strategic plans officer for...
ImagesPennsylvania National...
Col. Artūras Račkauskas, deputy director of the fire...


Web Views
639
Downloads
0

Podcast Hits
0



Public Domain Mark
This work, Pa. National Guard begins planning with partners for emergency-preparedness exercise Vigilant Guard, by MAJ Angela King-Sweigart, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:08.28.2013

Date Posted:08.28.2013 15:10

Location:FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, PA, USGlobe

Options

  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard

HOLIDAY GREETINGS

SELECT A HOLIDAY:

VIDEO ON DEMAND

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Flickr