By Sgt. Terence EwingsMarch 19, 2013
MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER, Ind. - Service members assigned to Joint Task Force Civil Support worked to provide relief and support for displaced civilians days after a simulated nuclear-blast attack.
Combat medics and military policemen supported local civilian authorities by providing food, water and medical care at a soccer stadium located on the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, Ind., Aug. 2.
"We've come along way, and to see the countless hours of training and preparation pay off in an exercise like this just makes it all very rewarding," said 2nd Lt. Patrick Cook, a platoon leader assigned to the 401st Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas.
Throughout the past week, approximately 5,000 service members and civilians participated in the exercise, which is designed to demonstrate their ability to provide lifesaving and life-sustaining missions, provide logistics support to a theater of operations and perform technical chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) consequence management tasks and civil support plans.
"In a real world situation we are a symbol of hope for the American people," said Cook, a native of Baltimore, Md. "We want the citizens to know that we're here to help them in the event of a disaster."
In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, JTF-CS stands ready to deploy in country, aiding local, state and federal civilian authorities in support of the Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Response Force (DCRF) mission.
"I think this is great training to help prepare us for disasters that require a lot of relief and support," said Sgt. David Shields, a military policeman assigned to the 401st MP Company "In the event we have something similar to Hurricane Katrina, we have trained to quickly respond and help the civilians."
During the exercise, the 401st MP Company assisted personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Red Cross in handing-out food and water to the displaced civilians.
"Although we're transitioning out of overseas theaters we're still here to support the American people, and this homeland security mission is another awesome opportunity to just be there for the people we serve," said Shields from Wylie, Texas.
The military police also escorted role-players, acting as survivors of the nuclear-blast, into the stadium. Upon entering the area, soldiers collected administrative information from the citizens. Soon after they received food, water, medical treatment and if needed, ground evacuation to the nearest hospital.
"The training out here is surprisingly realistic," said Sgt. Brandon Hughes, a combat medic assigned to the 547th Area Support Medical Company, 56th Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 62nd Medical Brigade out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. "I wasn't expecting it to get this real, but it gives a good look at what we could possibly expect."
Hughes and other combat medics on the scene worked quickly and efficiently to treat over 100 survivors in need of medical care. In addition to providing lifesaving support the combat medics also reassured the citizens that "help is here."
"We do more than bandage people up and send them on their way; we care for people," said Hughes, a native of Louisville, Miss. "This exercise has taught us to work together as one big team to save lives and (provide) for the people who believe in us; and that means a lot to me."
The Vibrant Response homeland disaster training conducted by U.S. Northern Command is schedule to end later this month.