News: Rescue mission returns to Chillicothe
Story by Spc. Brian Johnson
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – After a three-year absence, the Ohio National Guard’s Search and Extraction team begins its return to Chillicothe, July 7.
More than 50 members of the Camp Sherman based 1194th Engineer Company, which includes soldiers who are carpenters, plumbers and electricians, will assume this highly specialized mission.
The Search and Extraction team is part of the Ohio National Guard's Homeland Response Force. The Homeland Response Force is one of 10 organizations nationally that can respond to a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear disaster.
Col. Paul McAllister, a Ross County native and the deputy commander of the Ohio National Guard’s 73rd Troop Command, explained to the soldiers of the 1194th more about what their upcoming mission would entail prior to the first day of their training.
“The HRF is a no notice, anywhere, anytime mission,” explained McAllister. “You are America’s answer to its worst nightmare. You are the first responders that can save lives.”
McAllister explained to the soldiers present that the first part or their week long training would be facilitated by the Oklahoma based Response International Group.
"The RIG instructors are all former firefighters. All of whom have real world techniques and procedures to bring to the training," said McAllister.
Many of these instructors have responded to various disasters to include the Murrah Federal Building bombing in 1995.
The first part of the Search and Extraction training includes: confined space rescue training, rappelling and ropes training, breaching and breaking, and the concepts of mechanical advantage.
“The members of the team are excited for this new mission,” said 1st Lt. Coleman Johnson, the Search and Extraction Team commander. “This is a real world mission where a soldier could one day be helping with a recovery effort in their local community.”
Even with the recent 100-plus degree heat, the soldiers are outside doing their training and learning how to complete their new mission.
“Today marks the start of your journey to become a search and extraction team,” said McAllister. “Being part of HRF is different than anything you have ever done before.”
The Search and Extraction team will go through many months of training before being officially certified to take over their part of the HRF mission.