News: DART-West assists with Colorado response
Story by Capt. Adam Musil
CAMP MABRY, Texas – The National Guard’s Domestic All-Hazards Response Team-West (DART-W), which is currently being led by the Texas Army National Guard’s 36th Infantry Division, headquartered at Camp Mabry, in Austin, Texas, is in direct coordination with the Colorado National Guard and is ready to provide force packages, if needed for flood relief efforts in Colorado.
“Right now we are tied into the current operations in Colorado, their situational update briefings, and telecons,” said 1st Sgt. Christopher Schrag, DART-W’s noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “We have also contacted the sister states in FEMA Region VII and provided the guardsmen in Colorado with available units across the region from which they can pull assets.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region VII is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., and manages federal disaster response efforts within Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
Currently comprised of Texas Army National Guard Soldiers, DART-W is responsible for synchronizing the National Guard’s response to major hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires west of the Mississippi River.
DART-W leaders were notified of the flood last week during a training exercise with members of the 35th Infantry Division, Kansas Army National Guard and 29th Infantry Division, Virginia Army National Guard. The focus of the training was hurricane relief and flood response.
“The flood scenario dealt with dispatching high water vehicles and properly identifying assets for medical support,” Schrag said. “The scenario was not exactly like the floods in Colorado, but identifying the assets was the same process. The training scenarios give us a predictive analysis of what types of vehicles or number of personnel that will be needed for any situation.”
According to a recent National Guard Bureau report, more than 550 Colorado National Guardsmen and active-duty Army Soldiers have rescued in excess of 2,100 people and hundreds of pets displaced by flooding. DART-W’s leadership said they have additional force packages that can be sent to the area if the situation gets worse.
“At this point we are standing by to see if and when the state [Colorado] will need additional assets,” said Maj. Jennifer Stobie, DART-W’s executive officer. “We are prepared to deploy 1st Sgt. Schrag, our FEMA Region VII LNO [liaison officer] to assist Colorado’s JOC [joint operations center] with the response effort.”
DART-W is one of two primary Domestic All-Hazards Response Team headquarters. The other, DART-East, is commanded by the 38th Infantry Division, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind. Command of each headquarters rotates annually between Army National Guard divisions. The 36th Infantry Division has been selected to lead DART-W for two years.
“As this situation develops we will continue to coordinate with Colorado and our sister states,” Stobie said. “Every state in the union has seasoned leadership that knows how to deal with natural disasters. Our job is not to tell them how to do business. Our job is to simply analyze their mission needs and recommend support packages to ensure mission success.”