Sgt. Reva Catholic
Photo by Sgt. Reva Catholic
Soldiers assigned to the 92nd Engineer Battalion receive a briefing during a Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Response Force training exercise on Fort Stewart, Feb. 12.
92nd Engineers prepare for disaster response
The 92nd Engineer Battalion participated in a Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Response Force four-day field training exercise on Fort Stewart, Feb. 10-13.
The exercise featured a simulated nuclear disaster response scenario that trained Soldiers of the 92nd in CBRN decontamination operations alongside civil authorities and first responder partner agencies.
“Our battalion worked in conjunction with Northern Command and Joint Task Force Civil Service to evaluate our units in preparation for any disaster that occurs within the United States,” said Capt. Bryan Wierson, a plans officer assigned to the 92nd Engineers.
This exercise featured an urban search and rescue team, a realistic decontamination venue, and many civilians who were contracted to role-play as real-world casualties.
“We had a mass casualty decontamination line where they received and assessed the casualties,” said Wierson. “The 51st CBRN Company, the 554th Engineering Construction Company, and the 36th Area Support Medical Company from Fort Bragg (North Carolina) worked as a team to facilitate the movement of the victims.”
Medics were staged at the decontamination site to train in treating the influx of casualties.
“We received training to be able to manage radiation and additional injuries we’d encounter involving mass casualties in a nuclear disaster,” said Sgt. Charles Bourchier, a health care specialist assigned to 36th ASMC.
“It was all about evacuating as many people as we could in the shortest amount of time and doing so effectively,” said Bourchier said.
In a real-life event, supporting agencies such as the Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other local and state entities would be involved, said Tom Phillips, a civilian contractor for L2 Defense, who also acted as an incident commander for the exercise.
Phillips said the 92nd Engineers supports the Dept. of Defense’s DCRF mission, and the unit has the capability that is required for a mass casualty event
“They bring a very robust response with a very robust capability,” said Phillips.
The value of the four-day exercise was realized among participants.
“We’ve seen accidents in the past where CBRN events devastated the local population,” said Bourchier, “which made this training very important to medics, because we must be able to treat various injuries in the event a nuclear disaster.”
Pfc. Cassandra Brown, a horizontal construction engineer assigned to 554th Engineering Construction Company said they learned how the DCRF was operated so if their assistance was needed, they would be proficient.
The exercise scenario tested Soldiers of the 92nd Engineers on how to conduct decontamination operations during an unpredictable timeline of events.
“The battalion increased capability and confidence with each passing day,” said Wierson said. “They were resilient in the midst of the constant changes and remained flexible and adaptive in overcoming those changes throughout the exercise.”
This training exercise was conducted in preparation for the culminating event Guardian Response, which is scheduled for late April.