National Guard Troops Begin Homeland Response Force Exercise
by Sgt. Patricia Austin, Joint Force Headquarters, New York
ORISKANY, N.Y. - More than 600 New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are participating in a Homeland Response Force (HRF) exercise at the New York State Preparedness Training Center here from April 28 to May 2.
The training exercise will also be used to evaluate the New York Army National Guard's 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) as they take over the reigns of the HRF from the 42nd Infantry Division.
“Building a stronger and safer New York starts with being prepared to face future emergencies,” said New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “This training exercise will help ensure the men and women of the National Guard –- who have stepped up for our state on countless occasions –- have the skills and experience necessary to protect New Yorkers in a disaster.”
The HRF is designed to assist state officials and local responders with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incidents. Highly trained National Guard members must prove their proficiency in search and extraction, decontamination, medical treatment, security and command and control.
“There are going to be three scenarios that they will have to respond to,” said Lt. Col. Michael Tagliafierro, the HRF external evaluation officer. “It’s taken approximately eight months to get the 27th IBCT ready to be evaluated." He added that if they pass this week, then they will assume responsibility of the HRF mission for region 2, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
These training exercises give local emergency responders a chance to hone their own skills and to refine local plans for dealing with disasters, such as the ones being portrayed in the scenarios. The exercises also give state emergency managers and local first responders an opportunity to practice working with the National Guard and other military forces.
“A lot of the people have worked hard to make sure that this is successful event,” said Tagliafierro. “We started planning for it last March.”
- The 27th IBCT Headquarters, based in Syracuse, N.Y., which contributes to overall command and control of the organization.
- The 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Headquarters, based in Niagara Falls, N.Y., which provides command of the CBRN response elements at the incident site.
- Engineers of Company A, 427th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, located in Rochester, N.Y., who train for the extraction and evacuation of casualties.
- Troop A, 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry, based in Geneva, N.Y., which operates the decontamination element.
- The five Wings of the New York Air National Guard, which contribute medical personnel for the triage and transfer of casualties for civilian medical treatment.
- New Jersey National Guard Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 113th Infantry from Riverdale, N.J. who act as the HRF's CBRN Assistance and Support Element.