CAMP SMITH TRAINING SITE, CORTLANDT, NY – One hundred and thirty-four members of the New York Army and Air National Guard, New York Naval Militia and New York Guard teamed up for a command post and communications exercise testing their ability to respond to a coastal storm hitting the Hudson Valley, June 24-25, 2021.
The 88 Soldiers and Airmen taking part in the exercise worked out what actions they would take during a real-life emergency. They were assigned to the command and staff of Joint Task Force 2, one of six task forces into which the New York National Guard divides the state, based at Camp Smith Training Site, one of the largest National Guard facilities in New York.
Responsible for emergency management in the Hudson Valley, the JTF-2 exercise was linked to an annual communications exercise known as Empire Challenge, conducted by the New York Guard, the United Nations response force. Volunteer State Emergency and New York Naval Militia.
The Naval Militia set up and used their mobile command post to communicate, while the New York Guard activated a network of shortwave radios. Known as MERN, short for Military Emergency Radio Network, shortwave radios, similar to those used by amateur radio operators, provide a backup communication system in an emergency.
Civil Air Patrol, the Air Force auxiliary that also provides disaster assistance, is also incorporated into the exercise. Twenty-five Civil Air Patrol volunteers participated at Camp Smith while 38 participated at other locations.
As the JTF-2 staff worked on simulated actions, New York Guard and Naval Militia communicators broadcast these orders over the network.
The JTF-2 staff developed response drills they would follow to deploy troops and respond to damage from storms, power outages or provide food and water to residents .
“The more we train, the better off we are as a joint force,” said Army Col. Robert Mitchell, 53rd Troop Command Chief of Staff.
“The Army is not the fire department, sitting in the barracks waiting for the bell to ring. We are more of a volunteer force that is called out and then sent out,” Mitchell added.
“One of the most important aspects of this exercise is for New York State military forces to come together and understand our capabilities,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Couchman, operations officer for the 53rd Troop Command.
“We did a briefing on the capabilities of all military components so we can understand what each organization brings to the fight and what contacts we can call in case something happens,” he added.
JTF-2 is led by the Commander of the 53rd Troop Command, headquartered at Camp Smith. The 105th Airlift Wing, located at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York, provides support.
The eight New York Naval Militia members who participated in the exercise learned a lot about working with the National Guard and the NYG, said Navy Lt. Filipp Khosh, Naval Militia exercise director. from New York.
“I think once this mission is complete, I suspect some positive feedback will start coming in for the Naval Militia,” Khosh said. “Next year, I hope the Naval Militia can take a bigger footprint in future joint exercises with more personnel, more tasks and more objectives involved. I am very committed to exercises and preparation.
It was the first time the Civil Air Patrol had participated in an exercise like this and Civil Air Patrol Lt. Col. Paul Ghiron, director of emergency services for the New York Wing of the Civil Air Patrol , said he was excited to show what his organization can do.
In the world of exercise, his unit has launched aircraft to facilitate communications using portable radio repeaters, Ghiron said.
“Civil Air Patrol also theoretically conducted aerial reconnaissance, located ‘persons of interest,’ and conducted infrastructure inspection and reconnaissance drills,” Ghiron said.
A key part of the exercise was understanding how to tailor military units for a national response mission, Mitchell said.
“Our units are built for wartime missions. So we need to break down the integrity of the unity that we have established for a wartime mindset and break them into pieces that will make sense for this particular defense mission and we need to release them,” Mitchell added. .
Bringing people together from all four components of the New York military forces for an exercise is an important step, the Army Brigadier said. Gen. Isabel Smith, director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, New York National Guard.
“I think bringing everyone together in this collaboration will better prepare us for any scenarios we may face in the near future,” Smith concluded.
|Date posted:||07.01.2021 15:00|
|Location:||TRAINING SITE CAMP SMITH, NY, USA|
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