Operation Tuscan Sun 2011
November 2, 2011
10/31/2011 CAMP DARBY, Italy- As the old English proverb goes, "hope for the best, but prepare for the worst." Members of the Camp Darby military community in partnership with Italian emergency responders put this into practice often through Operation Tuscan Sun 2011.
"The scope of the exercise was to test the garrisons response capabilities along with host nation's response capabilities and to figure out areas that we need to work on," said Carl Turner, exercise observer.
This year's annual exercise involved a hostage situation with several U.S. Air Force personnel as hostages. Unlike previous years, this exercise started late in the night when after all the staff had gone home for the day and continued through to the next working day. According to U.S. Army Garrison Livorno Commander, Lt. Col. Kevin Bigelman, this was an opportunity to test multiple force protection aspects.
"We ensured that each member of the emergency operations center could successfully battle-track and communicate using advanced software in order to enhance the garrison's ability to command and control along with improving the garrison's ability to liaise with host-nation emergency management agencies," said Bigelman.
"It was a very interesting and constructive experience; I was able to witness and take part in an exercise where Italian and U.S. Forces came together to get the mission accomplished," said Ernest Beezley, exercise participant. "It was comforting to see that in a real life situation how willing we are to help each other out."
According to Turner, this test requires a lot of cooperation and has a large impact on the community as a whole.
"The biggest benefit for doing these types of exercises is to see exactly how we would actually act if there was an actual emergency and to get all the kinks out of the way so when there's an actual emergency, we know how to respond," said Turner.
"This is the first time I saw an emergency operations center completely computerized where the updates were sent out in real time," said Cpl. Giacinto Tufilli, Italian Base Commanders office. "It was an exciting, learning experience to work in this manner with my American counterparts.
Louis Roach, who was working in the white cell added he saw much improvising and initiative.
"This was really positive and just what you need in real life: a good exercise that was very realistic," said Roach.
Host-nation partners in the exercise included the Italian Base Command, Camp Darby Carabinieri, Pisa Prefect, Pisa Questore, Livorno Carabinieri GIS, Pisa Civil Protection, 118 (EMS) and the Pisa Vigili del Fuoco (fire department). Bigelman added that Vicenza Military Intelligence Detachment helped the garrison in planning an extremely realistic scenario.
"Some good lessons were learned and areas we can improve were identified, but all in all, it was a successful exercise that has confirmed our EOC's capability to command and control and our ability to liaise with our host-nation EM partner," said Bigelman.