By Staff Sgt. Thomas G. Collins, 27th Public Affairs DetachmentAugust 8, 2013
CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. (Aug. 8, 2013) -- Early in the morning Aug. 3, several distinguished guests, including Coast Guard Rear Adm. June E. Ryan, military advisor to the Secretary U.S. Department of Homeland Security, arrived at the U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) Exercise Vibrant Response 13-2 Joint Visitors' Bureau here, to receive an overview of the nation's largest chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear disaster response drill.
As part of the overview, Ryan and other guests received briefings on the intended purpose and proposed outcome of the exercise. Additionally, they went to the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, or MUTC, Ind., to view the training being conducted.
According to Army Col. Joe Birchmeier, command engineer, USARNORTH, Vibrant Response 13-2, or VR 13-2, is an extensive exercise focusing on how the Department of Defense can support civil authorities and coordinate and train for a national response to a catastrophic chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear, known as CBRN, incident.
Falling directly in line with the intended purpose of VR 13-2, Ryan, due to her role as military advisor to the DHS Secretary, is linked in with how the nation would respond if such a disaster ever happened.
Ryan's responsibilities are to provide counsel and support the DHS Secretary in affairs relating to the coordination and execution of policy and operations between the DHS and the Department of Defense.
"I am the link between DOD and DHS," said Ryan. "Anything between wild fires and WMDs (weapons of mass destruction)."
While at MUTC, Ryan saw how this first-class training center could facilitate a multitude of scenarios ranging from bus, train derailment and gas stations to a fully functioning power plant and hospital complete with a morgue.
"This is a great multifaceted training site," said Ryan. "It's a real national treasure."
Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, adjutant general, Indiana National Guard, agreed that one of the great things about having a training site like MUTC located in a rural part of southern Illinois is that trainees can use pyrotechnics and smoke machines without disrupting the local populace.
While at MUTC the exercise, controller's took the admiral around to a few of the structures including the collapsed parking garage.
"This is an amazing opportunity to put personnel through this type of training scenario," said Ryan in regards to the collapsed parking garage. "It looks just like something I saw during Hurricane Katrina."
According to Ryan assisting in emergency response situations like Katrina and others is why she finds her role at DHS gratifying.
"I love it," said Ryan. "I absolutely enjoy it, because everyone there is focusing in the right direction, saving lives. How can you not love a job where you can have an impact like that."