By Angela Simpson, Michigan National GuardDecember 14, 2018
ST CROIX, USVI -- "When the Weather Channel becomes our favorite channel on TV, it comforts us to know it is now also the favorite channel of the Michigan National Guard, who has shown a commitment for assistance when the next big storm threatens our islands," said Brig. Gen. Deborah Howell, Virgin Islands National Guard Adjutant General.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, December 13, Caribbean Thunder, an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise (EDRE) will be initiated to validate the capability of the Michigan National Guard to notify, marshal and deploy a ready force of Michigan National Guard Soldiers to the Virgin Islands to provide support to Virgin Islands National Guard and U.S. Virgin Islands civil authorities using a realistic scenario in a live and constructive training environment.
After notification, elements of the Michigan National Guard 177th Military Police Brigade, who comprise the MING Quick Reaction Force (QRF), will assemble at the Taylor, Michigan, armory to receive initial mission briefings and gather gear -- just as they would when alerted for an actual QRF activation. From Taylor, they will convoy to Selfridge Air National Guard Base where they will meet with two C-17 Globemaster aircrews from the Mississippi National Guard who are providing airlift for the Caribbean Thunder exercise. Together they will load equipment and personnel onto the aircraft for an early afternoon departure.
The 177th MP BDE Commander, Colonel Scott Hiipakka, will be available for media interviews at noon, Thursday, December 13, at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
Media may also interview Guard members participating in the exercise at the Taylor Armory, 12450 Beech Daly Road: however, they are scheduled to convene at 4 a.m. and will be engaged in mission preparations for most of the morning. Public Affairs representative, Specialist Samantha Hall will serve as media escort at the armory.
To RSVP and reserve an interview slot please contact Michigan National Guard Public Affairs Office representatives Angela Simpson or Sgt. 1st Class Helen Miller or send notification to email@example.com.
Photos, information and video from the exercise will be published for media use on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service website, www.dvidshub.net promptly following the exercise.
Participants in the exercise include: Michigan National Guard Joint Staff, the Detroit-based 177th Military Police Brigade, 210 Military Police Battalion, 1775th Military Police Company, 1776th Military Police Company, the 156 Engineer Support Battalion; the 172nd Air Wing from the Mississippi National Guard; and Virgin Islands Joint Staff, Virgin Islands Port Authority, and the Virgin Islands Police Department.
Following Hurricane Maria in the fall of 2017, the Michigan National Guard partnered with the Virgin Islands National Guard to improve the capabilities and performance of both organizations in response to infrastructure damage and human suffering in the wake of a natural disaster. The Michigan timeline for movement to such an emergency is set at 8 hours following notification of need.