News: Realistic training pushes Soldiers to be their best
Story by Spc. Ryan Hills
MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER, Ind. - Soldiers of 2nd Platoon, 60th Engineer Company, 11th Engineer Battalion from Fort Benning, Georgia, conducted urban search and rescue training here July 26 in support of Vibrant Response ‘14.
Engineers performed rescue and recovery missions on role-players and mannequins suffering from a multitude of different notional injures.
VR ‘14 is a major field training exercise conducted by U.S. Northern Command and led by U.S. Army North. Approximately 5,500 service members and civilians from the military and other federal and state agencies throughout the country are training to respond to a catastrophic domestic incident.
“It’s been a good opportunity to practice leadership in a joint environment,” said 1st Lt. Michael Blair, 2nd Platoon leader from Knoxville, Tennessee. “You get to practice your skills, but [at the same time] to your left and right you have other technicians working.”
Soldiers were tasked with finding injured citizens and rescuing them from a collapsed house. At one point during the mission, members of the platoon were faced with finding two people that they could hear yelling, but could not see.
“We could hear yelling and knocking coming from the parking garage,” said Pfc. Daniel Sueros, a Lodi, New Jersey, resident. “After checking out the situation, we decided the sounds were most likely coming from underneath and behind a van parked in the garage.”
Soldiers were forced to tow the van out of the way once they ensured that no one was under it. Once the path was clear, Soldiers entered the building and removed both injured citizens from the wreckage using backboards.
“The realism here is something we don’t get when we train somewhere else,” Blair said when asked about his experience during VR ‘14. “[My team] doesn’t get a better training experience than they do here.”
As a component of U.S. Northern Command, Army North coordinates timely federal military response to disasters in the homeland to help the American people in a time of need.