DVIDS – News – Alaska National Guard conducts multi-agency CBRNE exercise in Juneau

The Alaska Army National Guard’s 103rd Civil Support Team, National Guard CST units from other states, and local and federal agencies participated in Van Winkle 2022, an all-hazards response exercise biannual in Juneau, from March 22 to 23.

National Guardsmen from the 14th CST from Connecticut, 47th CST from Mississippi, 42nd CST from North Carolina and 83rd CST from Montana traveled to the state capitol to participate in the scenario-based exercise.

Designed to apply and test their knowledge, the units trained to respond to various chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive events while coordinating with civilian resources and federal agencies, such as the Juneau Fire Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

CBRNE scenarios included simulated chemical weapons laboratory buildings and a staged plane crash contaminated with a radioactive source.

Lt. Col. Anthony Mortrud, 103rd CST Commander, explained how Van Winkle increases interoperability between rangers and local first responders in the event of a CBRNE incident.

“It’s important that we now establish these working relationships between civilian agencies and ourselves,” Mortrud said. “So when a natural or man-made disaster in the real world happens, we don’t figure out how we’re going to work together.”

A less visible element of CBRNE response scenarios is coordination between agencies in developing uniformity of unit techniques and procedures. Juneau, a relatively remote location for a full-scale exercise, helped demonstrate the importance of logistics and travel in every operation.

“We really want to speak the same language with our local partners so that we can board and transport people from anywhere in Alaska,” said 103rd CST nuclear medical science officer Capt. Roger Tran. “We need to be able to communicate effectively, work with the same tools and the same standard operating procedures.”

Maj. Adam Karlin, deputy commander of the Montana National Guard’s 83rd CST, echoed that sentiment and added that the exercise further enhances the ability of the various CSTs to work as a team despite their geographic location.

“were [the CST] a small community,” Karlin said. “Every opportunity we have to get out and work with our counterparts and other teams really sets the stage for when we go on a real mission.”

Staff Sgt. Jonathon Ramos, one of the 103rd CST Section Team Leaders, coordinated the efforts of his team and adjacent teams’ downstream operations. He talked about how the different scenarios gave CSE members the opportunity to demonstrate their competence in the field.

“This drill gives us a chance to stretch our abilities,” Ramos said. “We can see how it works in interagency operations and see the culmination of a year of training and preparation for this type of event. The Alaska National Guard’s ability to operate with outside entities makes us a viable asset whenever large-scale events take place.

Date taken: 28.03.2022
Date posted: 28.03.2022 13:21
Story ID: 417308

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