News: Vibrant Response Takes Flight with Aviation Support
Story by Sgt. Dani Salvatore
The 1204th Aviation Support Battalion, Kentucky National Guard, Task Force 46 is training on fueling operations during Vibrant Response 14, Aug. 1 to 8, at Forward Operating Base Nighthawk, Camp Atterbury, Ind.
Vibrant Response is a U.S. Northern Command-sponsored field training exercise for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive consequence management forces, and is designed to improve their ability to respond to catastrophic incidents.
The aviation unit is using this exercise to train its Soldiers.
“We are working rotational shifts to give us the chance to train on different things,” said Pfc. Adam Watts, a Falmouth, Ky., native, 1204th Aviation Support Battalion, Kentucky National Guard.
The Soldiers fuel just about anything that moves, from helicopters to ground vehicles, as well as generators. They even perform water purification. With the variety of operations aviation support requires, there is always something different to participate in.
Watts said that this was the best part about supporting aviation.
“It’s always changing,” he said. “You are never doing the same thing twice.”
According to Watts, working together to adjust to situations that arise is another exciting aspect to the mission.
“Equipment can be a challenge,” said Watts. “It can break down at the worst time and you need to be able to fix it on the spot.”
Watts is confident in his unit’s skill and knowledge in the field, allowing them to accomplish their missions successfully.
Spc. Danielle Randolph, an Owensboro, Kentucky native and also a member of 1204th Aviation Support Battalion, Kentucky National Guard, agrees. “I am real comfortable on the flight line. I have great NCOs (noncommissioned officers) that know what needs to be done, and are always there to help.”
One of the reason the Soldiers look forward to participating in Vibrant Response is it gives them the opportunity for extended training.
“The hands on training is the best part,” said Randolph. She said the majority of her unit has deployed before and exercises like this one, help lessen the experience gap between those who have been activated and those who haven’t.
Vibrant Response provides National Guardsmen like Randolph and Watts with the chance to gain experience so that she can become more proficient in their duties.
“Most of the people in my unit have refueled more than 6,000 birds (aircraft) during their career,” said Randolph. “I have probably refueled about 20, this is my chance to get experience.”