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Guardsmen, local responders validate Rapid Reaction Force

Commanding Unit


North Carolina National Guard
Raleigh, NC, US

Guardsmen, local responders validate Rapid Reaction Force


Story by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Shaw

Guardsmen, local responders validate Rapid Reaction Force GREENSBORO, N.C. – Service members of the North Carolina National Guard, conducted Rapid Reaction Force (RRF) training and evaluation exercise at the Colonial Pipeline tank farm here, July 17 to 19, 2015.

The exercise’s purpose is to validate the skill sets of RRF soldiers and civilian agencies while providing an opportunity for them to demonstrate command and control and develop relationships with local and state civilian emergency services.

“The National Guard supports operations home and abroad,” said 1st Lt. Lance A. Cutler, RRF project officer. “To focus on those homeland operations we really need to be in tune and in sync with how our civilian partners operate.”

Over the course of the three-day exercise, members of the 1132nd and 514th Military Police Companies worked with Guilford County emergency services to respond to a series of simulated emergencies including: protesters, riots, hostage negotiation, and a suicide bomber. These simulations are designed to test the guardsmen and local responder’s ability to react to emergency events while securing a large site.

According to Staff Sgt. Michael Duke, 1132nd squad leader, hands on training like this is critical for his soldiers to be able to support local emergency responders.

“It’s good to see this exercise taking place the way it did. Especially in the riot control,” said Duke. “In a real-world situation you’ve got to move and work with them [local police] and you need to know their methods just as they need to know yours.”

This exercise was not only about the boots on the ground, local, state and NCNG leaders were also polishing and validating their command and control skills.

“Communication has been key,” said Cutler. “Learning how to integrate communications and talk effectively so you can get the job done in the best, most efficient manner.”
Cutler says he’s proud of how his soldiers improved and their performance.

“The biggest improvement that I’ve seen in these soldier’s thus far is the rapid establishment of their command and control systems,” said Cutler. “Coming into a new environment, you have to get the lay of the land and establish how you are going to operate.”

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