Army Reserve, National Guard team up for CBRN exercise

By Staff Sgt. Carolyn Hawkins | 318th Press Camp Headquarters | April 17, 2018

MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER, Ind. — The morning sun rose over MUTC and the windy mid-April day heated up to a sunny 77 degrees. Displaced civilian role players arrived to the mass casualty decontamination line from various search and rescue sites at Guardian Response 18 exercise, requiring assistance from military personnel there.

U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard combat medics and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialists triaged displaced civilian role players at the MCD site during a CBRN training scenario there.

Guardian Response 18 is a multi-component training exercise in which all three Army components worked together to respond effectively to a notional chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear event. In this scenario, a 10-25 kiloton nuclear device went off in a U.S. town. The Army Reserve units established a mass casualty decontamination line and began treating the casualties in support of civilian authorities.

Leaders from the training audience stated that both the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard are important components to Guardian Response 18. The Army Reserve works at a more federal level, while the Army National Guard works at a local level.

“For my part, I can say that my counterpart who does MCD in the National Guard, we have a pretty good relationship,” said 1st Lt. Nicholas Taillon, commander of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 414th CBRN Company from Orangeburg, S.C. “We keep in contact regularly even though we only see each other one time a year.”

They both work together, along with local responders, to make the mission a success.

“The local responders, firefighters or (Hazardous Materials) team don’t have the same depth of funding that the Reserve has,” said Taillon, “so in the event that there is something catastrophic that happens, it overwhelms them and we have that capacity to respond anywhere in the United States with greater resources, --- and personnel strength. We can assist them with that and be available.”

First Lt. Michael Fedner, from the Army National Guard’s 231st Chemical Company in Reisterstown, Md., who is in charge of the National Guard team at the mass casualty decontamination line, has been with the unit for nine years.

“In a real-world scenario, the Command and Control Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Response Element-A [Army Reserve] are called up first, then the National Guard follows on after that. That’s due to the framework, so realistically the Reserve would set up this decontamination line and we would come in as relief-in-place,” said Fedner.

They can only operate for about 12 hours, so the National Guard comes in to relieve them. Then (the Army Reserve) can rest before they come back, he added.

“We were responding to a casualty event that occurred inside of the United States, at the back (of the MCD line) with the Army National Guard 251st Area Support Medical Company to treat patients and bring them the best care we can,” said Sgt. Kyle Everett, a combat medic with the 251st ASMC, who was triaging and treating patients in the ambulatory tent.

Many Soldiers feel that MUTC is a great place to train because of its realistic environment.

“MUTC is one of the best training facilities I’ve been to especially for the mission we have to where you actually feel like you’re in that situation,” said Everett.

Spc. Michael Lee, another combat medic with the 251st ASMC said he has learned a lot from the training.

Army National Guard Maj. Brian Casey, a field surgeon with the 251st ASMC, also spends a lot of his time in between exercises to train Soldiers with his medical knowledge, said Lee.

“I love the training,” said Lee. “It really benefits us.”