SAN ANTONIO, Texas – U.S. Army North, U.S. Northern Command’s Joint Force Land Component Command, Task Force 76 and 750 military and civilian personnel from across the country participated in Vibrant Response, an annual disaster response training exercise, Apr. 26 to May 8, through virtual collaborative software.
“The purpose of Vibrant Response is to prepare a command and control headquarters to command and control a response in support of simulated chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) events,” said Col. Scotty Lene, the Vibrant Response Commander Operations Group (COG), for U.S. Army North.
Task Force 76, the headquarters being evaluated, is a deployable reserve component element that, when activated, provides command and control of military response forces in support of civilian responders to manage catastrophic CBRN incidents.
“We’ve really watched this unit evolve over the last couple of years,” said Lene. “We gave them a rigorous problem set, they stepped up to the challenge, and then performed exceptionally.”
Vibrant Response 21 involved participants from the Department of Defense, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other military and civilian agencies across the United States.
“This headquarters, along with its two sister headquarters, one in the National Guard, and the other in the active component; all three responded in support of COVID last year,” explained Lene.
These types of exercises help ensure they are ready to take on disasters of this magnitude, Lene said.
“They performed exceptionally in the [COVID-19] response,” said Lene.
While Vibrant Response is a virtual exercise, it provides realistic training to every echelon of the formation.
“It’s real life, they make it as real as they can get here. Nothing fake about it, which, I think this is really good training,” said Spc. Kimberly Soto, a human resources specialist with the 338th Medical Brigade, 3rd Medical Command Deployment Support, supporting the simulation team for Vibrant Response 21.
Realistic training lends itself to real world success and Task Force 76 has applied those training lessons over the years.
“Everything we do is in support of things that are happening in America, whether it's hurricane response, disaster response, wildland firefighting… pretty much everything happened in 2020, we were there, and that's a great mission to be able to give back to the American population.” said Lene.