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    United Front VII: 19th CERFP promotes collaboration with Israeli partners

    United Front VII: 19th CERFP promotes collaboration with Israeli partners

    Photo By Sgt. Alejandro Smith-Antuna | TEL AVIV, Israel – Indiana National Guardsmen from the 19th CBRN Enhanced Response...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Alejandro Smith-Antuna 

    120th Public Affairs Detachment

    TEL AVIV, Israel – Whirling blades of concrete saws and the pounding of jackhammers created an orchestra of sound as they intermingled with the shouted orders of Hebrew and English.

    The soldiers and airmen of the 19th CBRN Enhanced Response Force Package and soldiers from the Israeli Defense Force Home Front Command worked in tandem as they scoured the rubble of the fallen building searching for the simulated victims.

    Approximately 30 Indiana National Guardsmen from the 19th force package participated in search and extraction training in partnership with soldiers from Ram Battalion Tavor Brigade of the Israeli Defense Force during the operation United Front VII June 18-20 in several locations throughout Israel.

    The Indiana National Guard has participated in the annual training exercise with the Israeli Defense Force since 2012. The first day of the exercise featured classroom training that introduced the operational concepts of the HFC and their system of emergency response.

    “Home Front Command’s goal and purpose are to save lives,” IDF Maj. Igal Raskin, a training officer from the HFC, said. “It is to save lives and ensure the resiliency of the civilian population by preparing them prior to conflicts, supporting them during a conflict, and easing the post-conflict.”

    The first day of classes also included courses in entering event sights, techniques for saving trapped victims, population information and intelligence, medical rescuing, and rescue engineering. All of these centered around three most important positions on a rescue scene.

    “Here [in Israel], we call it the golden triad,” Raskin said. “They are the key people you need before going onto a site – a medical specialist, your rescue expert, and your engineer. All are integral to the operation.”

    On the second day, the 30 members of the 19th CERFP were split into separate groups where they began working with the IDF search and rescue teams from the Ram Battalion of the Tavor Brigade. The day’s training consisted of round-robin training stations covering tunneling support and extraction, rescuing on an incline, and advanced location exercises.

    “A clerk with a broken pencil can do no work,” said Michael Yenhar, a search and extraction instructor for tunneling stability. “That is to say if you can’t rely on your tools you can’t effectively rescue. You have to be able to use anything that you have on you and know that anything can be a tool.”

    The third and last day concluded the operation with a final exercise at Zikim Training Base. A five-story demolished building with over a dozen trapped victims. The members of the IDF search and rescue forces and CERFP had only a few hours to find them all.

    From the moment their boots hit the ground, the soldiers from the CERFP and Ram Battalion quickly assessed the situation and formed their teams. One by one each simulated victim was found then traded for a person to be carried out on a stretcher.

    “We have them switch the puppet victims for a regular person,” Raskin remarked. “This allows them to get the real feel of working their way through the rubble with the weight of a real ‘victim’.”

    As the sun waned, the rescuer workers found their final victim, the exercise was completed and the operation came to a close.

    “My favorite part was working with the search and rescue dogs,” said Spc. Shelby Hulse, a search and rescue team member from the 19th. “Also, it was great to have the interactions with the other soldiers and getting to learn how they operate. All the hands-on training has been incredible. The different ways all the soldiers go about the stuff that we have already been taught.”

    “We have already gone about our extractions courses back in the states,” Hulse said. “It was pretty fresh in our minds when we got here, but it was still nice to put our skills and IDF’s skills together. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we all truly appreciate everything you have taught and done for us.”

    An award ceremony concluded operation United Front VII with remarks from the 19th CERFP mission commander Capt. Gretchen Szoztak.

    “United Front is a very important mission and we are happy to collaborate and train with the Israelis we consider our great friends and allies,” Szoztak said. “The training was interesting, well organized and valuable. We look forward to training again in the future and hosting Israeli soldiers in America as well. “



    Date Taken: 06.26.2018
    Date Posted: 06.27.2018 16:40
    Story ID: 282500
    Location: TEL AVIV, IL 

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