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    Texas Homeland Response Force deploys headquarters to Fort Hood for command post exercise

    Texas Homeland Response Force deploys headquarters to Fort Hood for command post exercise

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Pena | Texas Guardsmen from the 136th Maneuver Enhancement Minuteman” Brigade, Homeland...... read more read more

    FORT HOOD, TX, UNITED STATES

    11.04.2016

    Story by Sgt. Elizabeth Pena 

    Joint Task Force 136th (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade)

    FORT HOOD – Texas Guardsmen from the 136th Maneuver Enhancement Minuteman” Brigade, Homeland Response Force package based out of Round Rock, Texas, exercised their disaster response skills during a command post exercise at Fort Hood, Oct. 29 – Nov. 3, 2016.

    “The HRF mission is to advise and assist local responders in event of a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives incidents and help them to mitigate the effects,” said Charles (Craig) Parkhill, Defense Support to Civil Authorities coordinator for the 136th MEB.

    The scenario featured a hurricane that hit south Louisiana causing a flood surge and damage to three incident sites, which include, destruction to a caner hospital, chemical storage facility, and a radiological facility.

    “All three notional sites have sustained damage and have a nuclear and biological hazard associated with them,” said Parkhill “We are commanding and controlling those assets and military units that will come and assist those incident commanders in responding to those hazards.”

    The Minuteman brigade is custodian to the FEMA Region VI Homeland Response Force mission, which provides a mission-ready task force in support of local, state and federal officials throughout Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana.

    The HRF headquarters element, support platoons from the brigade support battalion and commination’s capabilities participated in the command post exercise. The other elements were scenario based.

    “We are notionally replicating six CERFPs which are CBERNE Enhanced Response Force Packages and three Civil Support Teams,” said Parkhill. “Since this is a training event, we will speed up or slow down the training as need be.”

    In the event of a disaster, the mission of the CST is to identify the hazard, and the mission of the CERFP is to conduct decontamination for citizens that are coming out of the hazard. As well search and recovery team to go in and pull people out who cant evacuate themselves.

    “This scenario is important because the type of natural or man-made disaster drives the environment that we will encounter when we deploy,” said Texas Army National Guard Col. Scott M. Mac Leod, Brigade Commander for the 136th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. “The five basic capabilities that we bring are common to just about any type of threat or crisis that we will go into,” said Mac Leod. “Yes they will vary to some degree whether it is a nuclear strike or hurricane but our consequence management capabilities will remain the same.

    While maintaining proficiency in their battle skills and responsibilities, members of the 136th MEB must also ensure their incoming soldiers have a good grasp on the HRF mission.

    “Even though we deployed our headquarters last November to Warfighter, then we deployed again to Houston for a full dress rehearsal, then we deployed again in August to conduct XCTC, we still have brand new people in our staff today that weren’t here for any of those events,” said Mac Leod.

    These year-round trainings help incoming service members gain knowledge on the mission of the HRF before disaster strikes.

    “The personnel who’ve been here in the past have to help train the incoming officers and non-commissioned officers and pass that knowledge on. Things like setting up the drash, to planning convoys to executing the homeland response force mission,” said Texas Army National Guard Maj. Johnny Ray Guerrero, chief operations for the 136th MEB headquarters.

    The unit is scheduled to go through its annual external evaluation this April, which will re-certify the Homeland Response Force package. Elements such as the CERFP and CST will run through battle drills much like this weeks exercise.

    “EXEVAL is a National Guard Bureau program, like in the Army with any other unit; you have to periodically undergo a test to test your proficiency. EXEVAL is the NGB’s way of constructing an exercise so that we can test all of our CBRNE enhanced response force missions. This relates directly to EXEVAL,” said Parkhill. Many of the injects that I incorporated into the scenario here, I pulled directly from EXEVAL in the past.”

    Although the scenario may change, the mission of the 136th HRF remains the same.

    “Our job in life is to go into a crisis and help save men and women and boys and girls; to go in and be a support element to local police, local fire department, department officials - basically these are going to be our fellow citizens that we are going to go help,” said Mac Leod.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 11.04.2016
    Date Posted: 11.04.2016 13:32
    Story ID: 213843
    Location: FORT HOOD, TX, US 

    Web Views: 332
    Downloads: 1
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