STUTTGART, BW, GERMANY –
The event took place Sept. 12 as part of the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s annual exercise, Stallion Shake, to evaluate Garrison and local national first responders’ ability to handle an emergency.
For the first time the scenario included the discovery of simulated radiological material which brought the 773rd Civil Support Team, based in Kaiserslautern, Germany, to Stuttgart to participate in the exercise.
“In the past, at least in the last 20 years, we never did it,” said Karl Doersam with the USAG Stuttgart Emergency Management Office.
Doersam said that the garrison was eager to include the radiological scenario as it allowed them to learn about resources and subject matter experts that can be called upon in the future.
“The role of the 773rd CST is to provide support to host nation and military authorities by providing CBRN assessment, that is chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear site assessment,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Wiggins, commander of the 773rd CST.
Wiggins explained that the 773rd is the only U.S. Army Reserve civil support team, all other civil support teams are a part of the U.S. Army National Guard.
“We’re a unique organization. We provide specific capabilities to assess, assist and provide support for host nation as well as military authorities,” said Wiggins.
The survey team members handled the scenario the same way they would handle a real hazardous material threat.
“We treat it as an all hazard,” said U.S. Army Spc. John De Jesus-Torres, 773rd CST survey team member. “We’ll come in with everything that will allow us to detect any hazard in the area.”
When the team completed the survey, they were taken through a decontamination tent set up by the local fire department. Members of the fire department, also in hazmat suits, assisted the team with the removal of their suits and simulated the decontamination process.
“The training today here at Stuttgart provides them a realistic approach to training. They actually got in the suits, they utilized the equipment, they interacted with the Garrison Fire Department, and they were able to conduct operations under a realistic scenario,” said Wiggins.