MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER, Ind. –
U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from Colorado participated in a mass urban search and rescue training exercise following a mock nuclear attack during Guardian Response 22, April 28, 2022.
Guardian Response 22 is an annual homeland emergency exercise that provides realistic disaster response training to sharpen the skills and increase the capabilities of Army Reserve Soldiers. This large-scale training exercise simulates the aftermath of a large nuclear explosion in a major U.S. city.
Army Reserve Soldiers with the 409th Engineer Vertical Construction Company from Windsor, Colorado participated in Guardian Response 22 in Butlerville, Indiana this year. Spc. Sabrina Hernandez of Greeley, Colorado, an Army Reserve unit supply specialist, volunteered to take part in this training following two months of training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
"This was my first day, training was really fun," said Hernandez. "I actually saw my teacher who trained me at Fort Leonard Wood here, which was nice to see."
The urban search and rescue exercise is one of the training scenarios Soldiers will experience during Guardian Response 22. Hernandez elaborated further on this exercise, saying, "It's super high speed, fast paced, and a lot of information to take in."
This exercise is intended to reinforce Soldiers' military skills and confidence while operating in a hazardous environment. Soldiers donned protective suits while rescuing mock casualties from wreckage sites and transporting them to decontamination zones.
"In the areas we search, we aren't sure if there are chemicals we'd be exposed to, so we want to take all of the precautions we can," Hernandez said.
Spc. Chad Schuled, a U.S. Army Reserve chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear specialist, described the steps Soldiers must follow to decontaminate following the search and rescue operations.
Schuled explained that Soldiers who enter the decontamination tents are hosed with a sanitizing spray to prevent the transfer and exposure of hazardous agents. As Soldiers exit the tents, he helps them remove their protective suits while avoiding direct skin contact and disposing of the equipment properly.
The realistic training environment at Guardian Response 22 provides Soldiers with skills and confidence that can help save lives in a true disaster. "It's really nice to see your battle buddies doing what they have been trained to do," Hernandez said. "If you can volunteer, do it!"