SALT LAKE CITY –
It’s the type of military training a unit hopes to never have to use in real life. But, during exercise Vibrant Response 22, an Army Reserve Command responded to a fictional nuclear attack on a major metropolitan city, testing their ability to quickly jump into action.
Vibrant Response 22 is an annual training exercise that took place from May 5-13 at Camp W.G. Williams, Utah and Fort Carson, Colorado, conducted by U.S. Northern Command and led by U.S. Army North, testing Task Force 76, and Army Reserve command’s ability to respond on short notice to a natural or man-made disaster.
Task Force 76 is an Army Reserve response force headquartered in Salt Lake City, under the 76th Operational Response Command led by Maj. Gen. Ernest Litynksi. VR22 simulated a nuclear blast event in Denver, requiring TF-76 to provide command and control over defense forces that are assigned to support civilian agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) who was the lead federal agency for this exercise.
Approximately 180 Soldiers supported the task force, which provides a myriad of capabilities including: medical response, decontamination, engineering, technical rescue, patient evacuation, communications and logistics support, which is moving people, equipment and supplies by land and air. The liaisons, in those supporting task forces were the bridge working alongside the task force cells in the HICON area while communicating directly with their units in the LOCON area.
"Being an LNO is very crucial role in the operation and are experts of what’s situationally going on in the battlespace," said Warrant Officer 1 David Dimond, Task Force Ops LNO. “I’ve done search and rescue and CBRN [chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear] operations myself, so I can help do an assessment and relay that to deconflict issues and allow the task force staff to work on the mission.”
The exercise conducted 24-hour operations and throughout each day, and new twists or fictitious events were posed during the scenario to continually challenge the task force to collectively work together to implement the plans and procedures they have trained and practiced throughout the year to be exercised and evaluated.
“A lot of good staff processes were refined. We got a greater understanding of the Defense Support for Civil Authorities (DSCA) mission and how Task Force 76 fits in it and a lot of good training for many of the new staff officers and NCOs that are assigned to the headquarters now,” said Sgt. Maj. Richard Evans, Scenario Operations Senior Enlisted Leader. “I think we are now better prepared to respond on “'America’s Worst Day.'”