4th MEB Soldiers prepare for disaster response mission Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 August 2013
Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Denby
Special to GUIDON

JENNINGS FAIR GROUNDS, Ind. — After traveling more than 400 miles, Soldiers of the 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade rally alongside thousands of participants at this year’s national Department of Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear disaster response training exercise based out of Camp Atterbury, Ind.
A line of 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade vehicle are positioned prior to convoying to Camp Atterbury, Ind., for exercise Vibrant Response. The exercise began Monday and runs a week.

The Fort Leonard Wood Soldiers will be responsible for the command and control of all personnel assigned to one of four task forces within the Defense CBRN Response Force, Task Force Operations, which is assembled from all branches of service deploying from across the U.S.

“It is quite the challenge to coordinate, track and manage not only the personnel, but also the reception of more than a thousand pieces of equipment and containers coming from seven different Army and Air Force installations within such a short time frame,” said Maj. Kwok Chan, 193rd Brigade Support Battalion support operations officer.

Chan said that his transportation team and the rest of Task Force Operations Joint Reception, Staging, Onward movement and Integration is a critical force multiplier for the exercise.

“Our mission is to assist 167th Theater Sustainment Command and 140th Movement Control Team to track and receive more than 800 pieces of equipment and more than 300 containers in only a few days and then task organize them for onward movement in the Joint Operating Area,” Chan said. “This process is vital to the swift activation of DCRF so that we, as a team, can assist emergency responders when it matters most.”

The DCRF consists of about 5,200 personnel to include Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians from active-duty and reserve units. The DCRF is a scalable force that is part of a larger collaborative response capability between local, state, tribal and federal agencies, according to the official Joint Task Force-Civil Support website.

JTF-CS coordinates the confirmation of units assigned to DCRF through key training exercises like Vibrant Response.

Collaborative training prior to confirmation is an important part of ensuring mission success, according to the 4th MEB executive officer.

“Historically, Vibrant Response participants have gone straight in to the confirmation exercise once they hit the ground here,” said Maj. Todd Heintzelman. “This year, we have been provided with an opportunity to train together with these units, who come from all over the country, to work out some of the critical tactics, techniques and procedures collectively prior to receiving notification that we must respond to a catastrophic incident.”

Heintzelman and the rest of Task Force Operations will spend the next couple days collaborating and then put their skills to the test by responding to a catastrophic incident designed for them at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex.

“Last year’s exercise was chaotic,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Leahy, Task Force Operations liaison officer. “There were explosions and dramatic rescues; there were literally thousands of people all over the area who needed help.”

Leahy was assigned to the 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade during their DCRF rotation and is now assigned to 4th MEB.

“The biggest part is getting the right people, in the right places, at the right time to save lives and prevent further injury,” Leahy said. “Whatever [the training scenario] is…I know it will require training for teamwork to get the job done right.”

Leahy is one of several liaison officers that will relay critical information from JTF-CS to the task forces participating in the exercise.

The exercise is slated to conclude next week.

(Editor’s note: Denby is a photojournalist with the 4th MEB Public Affairs Office. This is part two of a three part series.)

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 August 2013 )