Through this past week and continuing into August 5,000 servicemembers and Department of defence civilian personnel are converging on Muscatatuck Urban Training centre and various other locations throughout Indiana for a huge practice run on disaster relief operations.Named “Vibrant Response 13,” the national-level field training exercise under the direction of U.S. Army North is designed to demonstrate response in the event of a CBRN incident: a chemical, biological, radiological / nuclear catastrophe.
Responders are tasked with tasks including medical care and evacuation, communications, route clearing, decontamination, law enforcement and providing shelter to civilians.
The training grounds simulate conditions that members of the armed forces and first responders would encounter in the event of an unthinkable attack, with obvious implications towards terrorism but also large scale natural disasters.
Sets simulate burning rubble, crushed vehicles and collapsed structures, while mannequins and role-actors play the part of casualties and the injured (respectively).
At a soccer stadium on Muscatatuck, military police escorted the would-be survivors of a nuclear blast and assisted members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross in handing out food, water and medical treatment as necessary.
More importantly, members of the VR exercise got a taste of the psychological impact of such a mass event.
The DoD has been concerned with fast response to CBRN events since the first World Trade centre bombing in 1993, and subsequent legislation has been enacted to organise elements from all four services — including active, reserve and national guard.
Vibrant Response, now in its thirteenth year, is one of three major training scenarios designed to maintain the military and the Department of defence at the ready, the other two being Ardent Sentry (natural disaster) and Vigilant Shield (invasion of U.S. soil).
Update: Captain Burke has posted his own roundup of the Vibrant Response exercise via Small Wars Journal with additional images and background information.
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