Vibrant Response exercise critical training for saving lives
By Staff Sgt. Keith AndersonAugust 3, 2012
MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER, Ind. (Aug. 3, 2012) -- On a busy second-day of training missions, the U.S. Marine Corps Chemical, Biological Incident Response Force, or CBRIF, continued to search for displaced and trapped civilians in need of decontamination and medical care, July 29, as part of Vibrant Response 13, a major incident exercise conducted by U.S. Northern Command and led by U.S. Army North.
The exercise challenged the seasoned Marine Corps' force -- as well as Army North's Exercise Control Forward.
"The CBIRF's decontamination and medical triage processes are very efficient," said Lt. Col. Mark Quenga, EXCON FWD chief of operations, Army North. "We instituted additional measures, including providing additional displaced civilians in challenging scenarios, to ensure that the mission sets push the Marines and Navy Corpsmen to the limit of their capabilities."
The Marines employed technical rescue to retrieve "injured" civilians from a partially collapsed multi-story building, as well as search and extraction from multiple buildings over a hot-zone of more than five acres, to get the "victims," many on sleds, to the decontamination and medical triage point and to medical evacuation.
Participating in Vibrant Response with Army North is critical to the CBIRF mission, said Marine Corps Master Sgt. Patrick Lavender, lead observer/controller, CBIRF.
"This is what they train to do," said Lavender. "Every exercise brings up areas we can improve. As an active-duty force, one third of our force rotates out every year so you have some who are doing this for the third time and some who are doing this for the first time."
The medical training is also very important for the Navy hospital corpsmen that serve on the Marine CBIRF.
"As corpsmen, we are not afforded the option of making mistakes," said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Harley Meyer. "That's why exercises like Army North's Vibrant Response are critical."
Some of the civilian role-players went through the decontamination showers more than once to increase the numbers of civilians needing care from the CBIRF, said Luis Barrera, displaced civilian coordinator and Army North contractor. Despite the weather conditions, he said they enjoyed their part in the training session.
"It's pretty hot out here today," Barrera said. "The showers are a good way to cool down."