MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER, Ind. –
What are your plans if a 5-ton nuclear device detonates in your city?
While unlikely, the U.S. Army trains to assist communities in these worst-case scenarios and enhance mission readiness during homeland emergency response exercises such as Guardian Response 22, which is hosted by the U.S. Army Reserve's 78th Training Division.
During the exercise, multiple units, which fall within the Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Response Force, such as the 63rd Chemical Company, the 581st Area Support Medical Company, and the 2nd Battalion, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, diligently work to test unit readiness and responsiveness.
"This training is important because we need to be ready to respond at any time and as needed," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Robert Iem, a UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot, assigned to the 4th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment. "We provide relief against CBRN threats by providing an aerial view of the area to our command team and conducting medical evacuations."
Aeromedical evacuations are only part of a broader scope of various tasks practiced at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center. Medical support Soldiers work in tandem with their chemical counterparts to treat notionally injured patients, both live-action role players and medical mannequins, who could not leave the simulated nuclear blast affected areas.
Soldiers also gain additional challenges from role players acting and adjusting the training exercise to further test and add complexity to the operations.
"There are great facilities to train out of like piles of rubble and destroyed train tracks," said 1st Lt. Molly Shepard, a liaison officer with the 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion. "It's a very realistic scenario."
Exercises like Guardian Response 22 allow Soldiers to improve their skills and commanders to gauge their unit's training cycle to maintain readiness across their team. If the call comes, the Defense CBRN Response Force will be ready.
"It's definitely been a great experience for our Soldiers," said Shepard. "I've learned a lot, and it's not somewhere we get to train every day."