Training for the worst: Homeland security unit conducts disaster readiness exercise
July 29, 2009
- Company B of 3-140th trained under a bright hot sun at Fort Carson's new military operations in urbanized terrain site as part of their two-
- The exercise was the first to be held by a COARNG unit at the state-of-the-art MOUT site.
FORT CARSON, Colo. (7/16/2009) -"Never let down your guard."
That's the unit motto for the Colorado Army National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 140th Security Support- a saying that goes a long way with a unit that is tasked with emergency operations and defense of our nation's borders.
Company B of 3-140th trained under a bright hot sun at Fort Carson's new military operations in urbanized terrain site as part of their two-week annual training. . The scenario consisted of a simulated terrorist takeover of an American embassy within a mock city.
Terrorists - played by Soldiers within the 3-140th - wreaked havoc in the city and killed a number of civilians before taking over the embassy. Soldiers of the 3-140th were then sent in to extract the dead and wounded from different buildings, while Soldiers from the COARNG 1st Battalion, 157th Infantry were sent in to locate and destroy the terrorists.
The exercise was the first to be held by a COARNG unit at the state-of-the-art MOUT site. The site consists of various buildings with video cameras in select rooms for observation of training. A separate operations room controls sound effects like gunfire, screams, explosions and smoke machines to further add to the sense of overall disaster and chaos within the city.
The exercise - as well as the company's entire five days spent at Camp Red Devil at Fort Carson - was a chance for the Soldiers to build upon the Army's warrior ethos and for troops such as supply technicians, vehicle and helicopter maintenance troops and admininstrative personnel to get out into the field and build on their basic Soldier skills.
Additional training included land navigation, Humvee roll-over simulator training and working with night vision goggles.
"It's a different experience," said Human Resource Spc. Lestley Bradley, who was tasked to extract casualties from a mock hotel at the site. "I get to carry an M-16 and drive Humvees out here. I receive training that I normally wouldn't get as a (human resource specialist). It's been fun."
Sgt. 1st Class Mike Burton, readiness, operations, and training noncommissioned officer in charge of Company B, was positioned in the site's control room. He controlled the sights and sounds within the mock city, coordinated air activity with helicopters and monitored all the action using the video cameras positioned throughout the site. "My guys are not infantrymen. They're not trained to enter and clear rooms," Burton said of a group of his fellow Soldiers that extracted simulated dead and wounded from buildings. "That was their first evolution of doing that. They're insertion into the building was perfect. They did a great job with the litters and brought everyone out safe so I think it was a great training event."
Maj. Christopher Burns, commander of Company B, oversees 60 Soldiers that do everything from piloting OH-58 Kiowa helicopters to cooking. "When I took command of this unit no one even knew we existed. The Joint Operations Center didn't know of our unit or what we did," Burns said. "Since then, we've participated in some civilian support operations and got our name out. We will be the front line face of civilian support for the National Guard."
The unit was formed in October 2005 and is headquartered in Stockton, Calif. They have supported Operation Jump Start on the U.S.-Mexico border in 2007 and the Democratic National Convention in 2008. Burns said the unit's next AT will take them back to the U.S.-Mexico border near Tuscon, Ariz., in support of the United States Border Patrol with the primary mission being the OH-58's aerial coverage in the tracking of illegal immigrants that cross the border.