News: Minnesota's CERF-P trains for disasters
Story by Staff Sgt. Lynette Olivares
VOLK FIELD, Wis. — Despite hot weather and a battle with the elements, soldiers and airmen of the Minnesota National Guard from around the state successfully trained together as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosives (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force - Package (CERF-P) at Volk Field, Wis., July 27.
“The soldiers and airmen put in a lot of hard work from June to July,” said Capt. Scott Hawks, 434th Chemical Company commander. “We are very proud of their production and results with the exercise.”
Soldiers and airmen from the CERF-P team are trained to assist an incident command by having nearly 200-trained service members mission ready within six hours of notification.
The CERF-P is comprised of four essential sections, created and staffed by volunteers from existing National Guard units.
The sections of the CERF-P include: search and extraction, decontamination, medical, and command and control.
The command and control group provides direction for the overall activities of the CERF-P and reports to a civilian ‘incident commander’ of a man-made or natural disaster response team, as well as maintaining the military chain of command for the CERF-P team.
The search and extraction team is currently assigned to the Minnesota National Guard’s 682nd Engineering Battalion. These soldiers will be trained to extract persons from confined spaces, as well as buildings.
The decontamination personnel are provided by the Minnesota National Guard’s 434th Chemical Company. This team monitors and detects CBRNE hazards on a site. These volunteer soldiers will decontaminate causalities, local responders, and military personnel using state-of-the-art military and commercial equipment.
The medical mission is assigned to Minnesota Air National Guard’s 133rd Airlift Wing and 148th Fighter Wing Medical Groups. The airmen will render medical aid and perform medical triage and initial stabilization on site. Full-time medics, doctors and nurses, many who work in hospitals and medical facilities around the state, staff this section.
During the training many distinguished visitors came to observe the exercise, to include: Maj. Gen. David J. Elicerio, 34th Infantry Division commander and Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.