Community leaders support Army North exercise
August 9, 2012
MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER, Ind. - For some, it may appear that a major military training event could be a burden on the local communities that surround training events. Others may see the increase in traffic or the increase in noise associated with military training as burdensome.
And although a small percentage of a community may not necessarily be happy when a military exercise comes near their area, such is not the case for the county and business leaders of Jennings County, Ind.
The business and county leaders said they truly looked forward to the July 26 kickoff of Vibrant Response 13, which is projected to infuse an estimated $6.5 million of business into the surrounding communities.
VR13 is a U.S. Northern Command major incident exercise, led by U.S. Army North, which brings together more than 9,000 service members and civilian employees to face the daunting task of providing aid to their fellow Americans in the aftermath of a simulated 10-kiloton nuclear detonation in a major Midwestern city.
The local communities provide various support through services, such as fuel purchases and equipment rental. The estimate doesn't include the additional funds resulting from food purchases and lodging expenses by the individual service members.
Some businesses even find themselves in the "enviable" position of being busy enough to sell out of their products for the day.
Kathy Ertel, executive director Jennings County Economic Development Commission, shared a story about the manager of a local fast food chain who called her and asked for advice because the restaurant was so busy it sold all of its available meals.
Ertel said going without a burger for the day is fine for her and that the community enjoys the benefits of the business that comes with the exercise. She said it also serves as a potential draw for perspective businesses since it shows what North Vernon and Jennings County can do for them, adding that "Army North plays a key role in that."
The community support is more than just an economic one but also a patriotic one as well said Chris Ertel, vice president for the Indiana Bank and Trust, who is distantly related to Kathy Ertel.
Chris said he and his fellow leaders were committed to supporting the Soldiers and understood the important roles they would be called upon to perform if such an actual event were to occur.
"Be careful what you we ask for -- because you are going to get it," he said to Lt. Col. R. Dale Lyles, site commander Muscatatuck Urban Training Center and surrounding areas, in speaking of the support the leaders garner for the troops and the mission.
Chuck Carson, president of the North Vernon Municipal Airport board, said he is a strong advocate of the military presence in Jennings County. Carson recently contributed his efforts in the creation of a contingency operating base on the airport grounds. He said renovations to the airfield provide it the capabilities for a C-130 transport aircraft to take off and land.
The contingency operating base, he explained, is being used temporarily as a forward operating base during the Vibrant Response 13 exercise.
The support the leaders and residents of North Vernon and Jennings County display is evident.
Mike Rozsypal, director, Vibrant Response 13 exercise control group forward, said that, on occasionally, he is asked whether he thought the exercise could be moved to a different location.
His response, he said, is always the same.
"The level of community support we get going out there is just phenomenal every time we train there," concluded Rozsypal, adding that the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center have the premier facilities for conducting training for the exercise.