INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana National Guard hosted an interagency training exercise at Stout Field Jan. 14. Operation Down and Dirty brought together representatives from numerous emergency services across Indiana.

The Indiana National Guard prioritizes building enduring relationships with local government and non-government agencies to expand readiness, enhance resources and posture the organization for the future.

"The purpose of this exercise gives an opportunity to execute our standard operating procedures," said TJ Edwards, Indiana National Guard emergency management program coordinator. 'We wanted to make sure our internal procedures are where they need to be, as well as how we work with our first responders."

During the exercise, Stout Field locked down to support the most realistic training environment possible for security operations and emergency response.

Jacob Carey, an emergency medical technician assigned to Indianapolis EMS, was one of the first responder participants in the exercise. "I am a new EMT, and I feel like this exercise was essential for my training because I have never experienced something like this before," said Carey.

Working hand-in-hand with multiple agencies from central Indiana on the exercise was key to success. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Indiana State Police, Wayne Township Fire and Emergency Medical Services, all played a critical role in the exercise.

"These exercises are necessary for the Indiana National Guard to provide well-trained and rapidly employable forces in support of civil authorities," said Maj. Randi Bougere, the state public affairs director. "The operation was realistic and effective."

Operation Down and Dirty was initiated by a simulated detonation that generated emergency response and security forces teams to respond. While the typical focus of an exercise is on the impact site, special emphasis was placed on the collaboration between the agencies public information officers and the National Guard public affairs staff.

"During the exercise, I worked in the joint operations center managing social media as well as disseminating information through multiple platforms," said U.S. Army Sgt. Tackora Hand, Indiana National Guard public affairs specialist. "This exercise was great, it challenged our office in ways that we do not get every day."

The collective training between our airmen, soldiers and civilian personnel is the backbone to interagency relationships that maintain and grow the Indiana National Guard's lethality defending community, state and nation.