Fort McCoy News July 26, 2013

Joint unit responds to 'disaster' at Patriot Exercise

STORY & PHOTO BY TECH. SGT. NATALIE STANLEY
153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard

VOLK FIELD, Wis. — Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Emergency (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) teams from Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Minnesota came together at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center to train in hands-on scenarios that prepare them for real-world incidents.

Photo for Patriot article
The Wisconsin National Guard's 273rd Engineer Company Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Emergency (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP). Fatality Search and Rescue respond to an exercise scenario during Patriot Exercise 2013 at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, Wis. CERFP members are specially trained to support civil authorities in the event of the release of a Weapon of Mass Destruction involving CBRNE devices. CERFPs provide search, extraction, medical triage and decontamination of casualties during CBRNE events.

Aircraft involved in the exercise, including C-130 cargo transport aircraft, flew to Fort McCoy from Volk Field to practice tactical assault landings, said Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport Manager James Hubbard.

CERFP members are specially trained to support civil authorities in the event of the release of a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) involving CBRNE devices. CERFP's provide search, extraction, medical triage, and decontamination of casualties during CBRNE events.

"The Wisconsin CERFP holds the distinction of the world record in set-up time," said Lt. Col Brad Meyers of the 115th Medical Group in Madison, Wis. "Forty-one minutes, from the drop of the trailer doors to being able to receive casualties."

The exercise got under way with a simulated explosion at a multi-story hotel. The Wisconsin Army National Guard's 273rd Engineer Company, CERFP Fatality Search and Rescue, responded to exercise information that the adjacent building, containing radiation blood products, may have been affected by the explosion.

While CERFP members searched the incident sight for victims, CERFP medical personnel from the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 115th Fighter Wing prepared for the incoming victims. Training provided the opportunity for multiple agencies, both civilian and military, to work together to process wounded members in a timely and efficient manner.

"This is the perfect Purple Force — Green and Blue — exercise," Meyers said. "We have command and control with the Army. They handle the extraction, and then we have medical expertise from the Air Force."

"Purple Force" refers to a blending of service flag colors — red for Army, blue for Air Force. "Green and Blue" refers to uniform colors associated with Army and Air, respectively, but it can also refer to earth and sky as the domains in which each service branch typically serves.

The exercise is scrutinized and adjusted based on real-world scenarios to provide more-realistic training for the participants.

"People are suffering in a real-world situation — they suffered the loss of their home, maybe a loved one — and we want to get them the best-possible medical care," Meyers said. "Just stopping the crisis, that's the key in our mission."

More than 2,000 Army and Air National Guard members from 26 states joined members from a variety of local, state and federal agencies to train on responding to a large-scale domestic emergency.