GOLDOSBORO, N.C. (Jan. 12, 2016) -- Snow, sleet and ice cover central North Carolina as local authorities call for support.
North Carolina Guard leaders in Goldsboro task Soldiers for an early morning mission.
A carpenter, several students and medical technicians leave home, put on their uniform and reported for duty.
This is a drill, a North Carolina National Guard, or NCNG, domestic response drill.
The NCNG's 230th Brigade Support Battalion, or BSB, based in Goldsboro, tested their readiness with a state active-duty exercise at armories in Goldsboro, Kinston, Dunn and Benson, on Jan. 9.
After the unit's formation in Goldsboro for their weekend drill, 25-year-old Army Sgt. Trinidad Escobedo, a mechanic with B Company, 230th BSB, headquartered in Dunn, learned he will be a convoy commander for the exercise.
"Being commander was something new but I took what I have learned from previous convoys I was on," Escobedo said.
Brigade leaders designed the mission the night before after receiving the order from guard headquarters. Escobedo briefed the convoy's Soldiers on their mission, supporting state emergency management.
"Got an order, get the Soldiers and go," said Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Montague, readiness noncommissioned officer with headquarters, 230th BSB.
There is a flurry of activity. Medics inspected and packed lifesaving gear into large trunks. Mechanics and drivers fueled and inspected vehicles. Snow chains, radios, tow straps and other vehicle recovery gear are checked and rechecked. Escobedo tracked the team's progress and coordinated with headquarters. In less than an hour from notification, the convoy of Humvees, an ambulance and medium tactical vehicle rolled out of the armory.
"I am a roofer in the civilian world, the guys at work never believe what I get to do here, it is fun," Escobedo said.
Brigade leaders assigned several force packages, preselected teams of Soldiers and equipment designed to support civil authorities during a disaster. In total, four force packages deploy, two from Goldsboro with vehicle recovery and medical missions, one from Dunn with a commodities distribution mission and one from Benson with a refueling mission.
This is no paper exercise but valuable practice supporting local first responders and North Carolina Department of Public Safety for a storm that someday will threaten lives and property in the state like so many others in the past.
"It is a confidence builder, it makes Soldiers understand how our force packages work so when they are called out it takes the mystery away," said Army Master Sgt. Timothy Bowden, 230th BSB senior maintenance noncommissioned officer.