By Lt. Col. Richard Goldenberg, New York Army National GuardAugust 3, 2010
Two New York Army National Guard officers learned that despite different languages-Hebrew instead of English-the concerns of Israeli Army civil defense soldiers and National Guardsmen who respond to domestic emergencies, are similar.
Col. David Martinez, the Director of Domestic Operations for the New York National Guard, and Lt. Col. Richard Goldenberg, Public Affairs Officer for the 42nd Infantry Division represented the Empire State in Shared Future 2010, the bilateral military support to civil authorities training exercise between the National Guard Bureau and the Israeli Home Front Command.
Shared Future participants exchanged best practices, techniques and procedures for the military support to emergency responders for both conventional and weapons of mass destruction incidents from July 26-29.
The Home Front Command brought the National Guard participants to Beersheba over two days to observe a reserve training exercise to employ urban search and rescue battalions and the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high explosive response battalion.
The Beersheba exercise scenario centered on a missile attack delivering a chemical munition near an apartment complex. Home Front Command regularly training exercises The National Guard observers also met with emergency preparedness leaders from Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba to learn about methods to prepare hospital staff to treat the casualties of a chemical weapon attack.
Soroka, a university hospital with a geographic reach from Ashkelon to Eilat, provides medical care for a significant portion of the Negev district in southern Israel.
The group also met with Ruvik Danilovich, the mayor of Beersheba. The mayor spoke about the important partnership between municipal leaders, emergency responders and the Israeli military during a crisis.
Danilovich was newly elected when Beersheba came under rocket attack in late December 2008 during the Israeli operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Danilovich discussed the heavy weight of government leadership when he ordered the closing of schools for the day following the impact of a rocket on a empty kindergarten classroom on Dec. 30.
Approximately 40 Qassam rockets and Grad missiles were fired at the western Negev communities that day.
The training exercise included about a dozen representatives of the National Guard, including representatives from various state Joint Force Headquarters, National Guard Bureau Staff, Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy. Two other representatives from the New York National Guard will attend the August 1-4 International Consequence Management Seminar in Tel Aviv.