On the morning of Saturday, Sept. 12, the Wackernheim Regional Range Complex near Mainz, Rhineland Pfalz was alive with activity during the annual combined training event known as Operation Cobra Strike.
Operation Cobra Strike is a multi-national emergency response exercise that includes elements of the United States Army, Wiesbaden Civil Air Patrol, the German Bundeswehr and Technisches Hilfswerk, and for the first time, the Wiesbaden Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Due to Operation Cobra Strike being cancelled in 2020 on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, anticipation accumulated throughout the many groups involved in preparation for the 2021 event.
The event lasted all day and included multiple role-playing scenarios for the cadets. Each scenario was designed to train and prepare the emergency responders for real world situations they may encounter while in the line of duty.
The day began as the JROTC and CAP cadets rendezvoused at McCully Barracks to depart for the training ground. Cadets oriented themselves to the training area – a collection of concrete structures designed to simulate a town. Cadets were directed to pose as injured and trapped individuals within the town to allow emergency response personnel to react, assess and respond. The realistic training scenarios required rescue operations and simulated medical care under stress, especially by the THW.
For lunch, cadets were served a traditional training meal – MREs! These military “Meals Ready-to-Eat” are self-contained, come in lightweight packaging as an individual field ration and are used for field exercises and operations.
The afternoon consisted of new situations for the cadets. These sessions were geared towards sustainment after rescue and placed more strain on the military organizations in attendance. Cadets worked in groups, role playing as refugees who acted as disturbances to the soldiers. This tested the tolerance of the soldiers as they worked to complete tasks assigned to them by their leadership.
The training provided experience for everyone involved, from within their field of work or by helping public service workers refine their skills. Operation Cobra Strike also brought together CAP and JROTC cadets for the first time. This event also highlighted how all the cadets can utilize each other’s strengths and abilities, as well as showing them how to work together for the betterment of society.
(Courtesy article and photo by Judah Zaragoza with the Wiesbaden High School Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps)