Fort Polk engineer company aid ‘survivors,’ support Vibrant Response 13
Sgt. Terence Ewings,
24th Press Camp Headquarters:
Editor’s note: Soldiers of Fort Bliss’ 24th Press Camp Headquarters are participating in Vibrant Response 13, a multi-service and civilian combined training event, which includes responding to a nuclear blast, throughout Indiana and Kentucky.
Responding to a simulated nuclear-blast attack, Soldiers from the 178th Engineer Company from Fort Polk, La., conducted a rescue mission to save role players, acting as survivors, during the Vibrant Response 13 field training exercise Saturday at Camp Atterbury, Ind.
The engineers worked with other Joint Task Force Civil Support units to demonstrate their ability to support local, state and federal authorities in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
“The 178th Engineer Company is very proficient at what we do,” said 2nd Lt. Michelle Griffin, 2nd Platoon leader with 178th Engineer Company, “and in the event something like this were to ever happen, I am confident that we can perform this mission successfully.”
Griffin and her troops were responsible for evacuating nearby survivors and bracing the building so it could safely be searched for survivors.
In the event a real-life scenario were to occur, JTF-CS units are responsible for supporting the civilian authorities, who are in the lead, to conduct lifesaving and life-sustaining missions, provide logistics support to a theater of operations and perform technical chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear consequence management tasks and civil support plans.
“Participating in this Vibrant Response exercise is just giving us more experience and tools to add to our skill sets,” said Griffin. “At the end of the day and throughout this mission, we’re supporting our neighbors, friends, families and the people in country who need us.”
In addition to providing medical care to the survivors during the training venue, the 178th troops coordinated with a nearby chemical company to decontaminate the survivors after being rescued.
Once all the displaced citizens were evacuated from the scene, the engineers secured the collapsed parking garage with bracing materials so they could further search the area for survivors in need of aid.
“It feels good knowing there are people out there who need our help and we’re capable of providing that help for them,” said Spc. Kyle Lowmack, a combat engineer assigned to the unit.
Lowmack, one of the first responders on the scene, said he believes this type of training is important in ensuring unit readiness.
“Being able to execute our job and knowing we can help people in their time of need is a humbling feeling; it’s what we train for,” said Lowmack.
Throughout the weeklong training exercise, approximately 5,000 servicemembers will take part in Vibrant Response 13.
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