CAMP UMATILLA, Ore. – The Oregon National Guard CERFP task force trained at Camp Umatilla June 12-14 to maintain standards for emergency management.
The task force, comprised of Oregon Army and Air National Guard members, is designed to be the subject matter expert in a domestic chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological incident.
Oregon Army National Guard Master Sgt. Matthew McCreery, the noncommissioned officer in charge of task force operations, said task force members must have the skills and credentials to respond when first responders need assistance.
“Not often do our Army service members get a chance to cohesively work with the Air component, and vice versa, on a mission that could directly reflect the communities we all live in,” he said. “It’s a great joint experience to work with our Air Force counterpart to be a stronger response for the state of Oregon and Region 10.”
The Air Guard component, the 142nd Fighter Wing, contributes to the fatality search and extraction team, the communication suite, and the medical element. On the Army Guard side, the 741st Brigade Engineer Battalion, traditionally an engineer battalion, makes up the command and control element, the search and extraction section, and the decontamination section.
Only the medical teams are evaluated during the training to ensure they are up to standard.
“When we go out to a disaster, I’m responsible for the initial treatment of a patient,” said Senior Airman Christopher Schiller, aerospace medical technician assigned as a search and extraction medic, 142nd Medical Group, Detachment 1, Oregon Air National Guard. “We get on scene, and they send us with the recon teams. I’m treating patients with anything from a severely traumatic injury to someone who just rolled their ankle and needs help getting back to the hospital.”
Teamwork is important because of the number of components that make up the task force and its joint operational nature.
“There has to be a lot of situational awareness to make sure patients are taken care of properly,” said Senior Airmen Gabriella Boros, 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard. “We all are working together and we all have to have good communication so we can be a tight-knit group. Without that communication, we wouldn’t be able to give proper patient care.”