Refining their abilities to provide life saving assistance to civilian authorities in the National Capital Region is what the U.S. Army 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company was doing at the Center for National Response (CNR) from 7 to 19 Aug., 2011.

According to 1st. Lt. Ryan R. Kidd, the 911th executive officer, the two weeks of training will improve the unit's ability to rescue victims in mines, tunnels, trenches and collapsed structures.

"Our training allowed us to enhance our rescue skills in confined spaces where entry or egress is very limited, as well as how to get people out of areas where the air is toxic," said Kidd. "We also had a chance to work with the dogs. They are specifically trained to detect human life under rubble."

The 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company is modeled after a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Heavy Task Force and supports the Joint Force Headquarters - National Capital Region/U.S. Army Military District of Washington (JFHQ-NCR/MDW). Its mission is unique among engineer units within the United States Army and has recently increased its capabilities with the addition of two Belgian Malinois in a pilot urban search and rescue dog program to supplement its search and rescue capabilities.

Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, commanding general of the JFHQ-NCR/MDW hosted several interagency leaders from the National Capital Region (NCR) to observe the training on Aug. 18. Several state, local and federal first responders participated in the training with the 911th and reflect the close working relationship the JFHQ-NCR/MDW has regarding support to civilian agencies during a crisis in the NCR.

JFHQ-NCR plans, coordinates, maintains situational awareness, and as directed, employs forces for defense support to civil authorities to safeguard the Nation's capital.

CNR is an operational component of the Joint Interagency Training & Education Center (JITEC) that is a National Guard training activity operated by the Chief, National Guard Bureau and the Adjutant General of West Virginia. It is a flexible WMD training complex that provides multi-scenario exercises for the military or joint operations with military and first responders.