NEO exercise makes Yongsan ready
October 3, 2013
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- A noncombatant evacuation operations exercise was held here to raise the readiness and resiliency of U.S. government-affiliated noncombatants and to ensure they are prepared in case of an emergency, Sept. 26-28.
The annual Courageous Channel exercise is mandatory for all DoD family members and non-emergency essential DoD civilian employees, and voluntary for U.S. embassy personnel and DoD retirees, contractors and their families. Its purpose is to maintain readiness to conduct NEO in Korea if needed.
"This is an exercise we conduct in order to prepare ourselves to evacuate non-emergency personnel in case of any kind of emergency that would require us to leave the peninsula," said Maj. Josef Thrash, officer in charge of the exercise and a member of the 524th Military Intelligence Battalion S-3. "In case of emergency, evacuees should remain calm, take all directions from their respective unit's NEO warden, and make sure all the paper work is accurate and up-to-date to include their passports and NEO packets."
The exercise required all evacuees to update their NEO packets after contacting their respective NEO Wardens. The participants walked through the step-by-step stations set up at Collier Community Fitness Center and familiarized themselves the processes required in case of an emergency.
"It is good to know that there is plan, and through standardized processes like this, it is going to help alleviate some of the disruptions from upset conditions in case of emergency," said Terry Ford, regional operation officer for IMCOM-Pacific. "I asked my wife, who is a Korean citizen, to participate in the exercise together, and seeing her go through the process reassured me even more so."
The exercise was a reminder to the Area II community to remain ready to execute an evacuation from the Republic of Korea.