By George Markfelder, JFHQNCRMDWOctober 21, 2011
FORT MCNAIR, Washington, D.C. -- Oct. 21, 2011 -- The roads and airways of the National Capital Region were a bit busier than usual as more than 70 federal and non-federal agencies practiced their emergency-response capabilities during the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region's Exercise Capital Shield 12, an annual joint training exercise held Oct. 17-20 at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., and the former Lorton Youth Detention Center in Lorton, Va.
Exercise Capital Shield 12 is designed to test and evaluate joint operations, techniques, procedures, and command and control relationships and enhance interoperability among Department of Defense and interagency partners. The goal of the exercise is to ensure that government agencies at every level are prepared to take coordinated action to protect the public in the event of an actual emergency in the case of either natural or man-made disasters inside the National Capital Region.
"The training gave me knowledge of what to expect if a mass-casualty incident occurred in the National Capital Region, and how to respond," said Navy Chief Corpsman Oluyinka Adefisan, senior enlisted advisor in the Directorate of Social Services at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. "The first responders from the other services and civilian organizations stationed here in the NCR all came together as a team. It is the first time I have worked such a scenario since I have been stationed here."
The exercise scenario included response actions to mass-casualty incidents and collapsed structures that required urban search and rescue and mass-casualty evacuations. Participants outside DOD included Fairfax County Fire Department, Arlington County Fire Department, Washington, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Support, and more than a dozen hospitals throughout the National Capital Region.
"We first started working with the Army's 911th Technical Rescue Team years ago, when they weren't even called that yet," said Arlington County Fire Department Capt. Brian Spring, describing his department's training over the years with the U.S. Army Military District of Washington's Engineer Company, now called the 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company. "I have been here for 32 years, and I have watched their team from when they were started to today. They are excellent. They are a good bunch of guys and we like working with them."
The 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company was originally activated in July 1989 at Fort Belvoir, as the Military District of Washington Engineer Company and re-designated as the 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company in 2006 in commemoration of its response after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack at the Pentagon. The new company is modeled after a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Heavy Task Force and its mission is unique among engineer units within the United States Army.
The training exercise prepares the military to provide defense support to civil authorities and employ appropriate force protection measures on military installations throughout the National Capital Region.
Joint Force Headquarters -- National Capital Region, a regional subordinate of U.S. Northern Command, is charged with ground-based homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities in the National Capital Region. When called upon it must be ready to operate as a joint task force for whatever period may be necessary.