Fort Benning conducted an annual mass casualty exercise September 27 to test the installation’s emergency preparedness and readiness skills.
Soldiers from the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade and the 199th Infantry Brigade aided 20 mock casualties in an exercise that simulated multiple tornado touchdowns across the installation to practice their combat lifesaving skills.
The Emergency Operation Center is the focal point of Fort Benning's all-hazards mission command systems during and after disasters and emergencies.
“In this case, there were multiple areas and multiple incident commands which the EOC activated to support, in response to the severe weather event. As the EOC activates, we want to gain situational awareness of the damage extent and obtain accountability of personnel in the units and community,” said William A. Barnello, Chief, Plans and Operations Division, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security. “Our focus is dedicated response and support to the incident commander and, in this scenario, multiple incident commanders.”
The incident commander is responsible for the overall management of the incident and determines which command or general staff positions are necessary to maintain a manageable span of control.
“Exercises like this one provide the opportunity to practice interoperability with other installation commands and organizations, establish and maintain key relationships, and practice our essential response skills at a higher level of performance,” said Thomas Wiley Incident Commander, Assistant Chief, Health, and Safety, Fort Benning Fire and Emergency Services. “This exercise gave me the opportunity to hone my skills as an incident commander. These types of exercises make us stronger as an organization and as a community in preparation for natural disasters.”