/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
Train like you fight; Vigilant Guard scenarios prepare participants for the worst

Earthquakes, tanker trucks leaking toxic fumes, riots, tornados, cyber attacks, mass casualty from a chemical plant and floods all happening at the same time  No it is not the end of days or Armageddon  It was Operation Vigilant Guard, an exercise happening simultaneously across the United States

The exercise is a multi-state exercise that is designed to improve the interstate and inter agency workings between the National Guard and local, state and federal emergency responders   Wisconsin was one the many states involved and hosting these scenarios  The Wisconsin Vigilant Guard exercise took place May 14 through May 20 at various locations including Milwaukee, Prairie du Chien Correctional Institution and Volk Field

At Volk Field, members of the Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio National Guard, as well as local responders, were busy with a scenario that involved tornados touching down in La Crosse on the edge of the university   The Ohio National Guard members where playing the roll of the Homeland Response Force (HRF)

The HRF provides command and control of multiple Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Enhanced Response Force Packages (CERF-P)s At Volk Field the CERF-P is from the Minnesota National Guard The CERF-Ps provide immediate response to the governor including: incident site search, capability of damaged buildings, rescuing trapped civilians, providing decontamination and performing medical triage and initial treatment to stabilize patients for transport to medical facilities

Download photos
In the scenario, the Minnesota National Guard responds to the outbreak of tornados in La Crosse because the Wisconsin National Guard is already responding to the massive earthquake that has happened along the Ohio River Valley  Minnesota was able to respond in Wisconsin because of an Emergency Management Compact between Minnesota and the bordering states

The Minnesota National Guard’s CERF-P includes members from the both the Army and Air National Guard  Soldiers from the 682nd Engineer Battalion and 434th Chemical Company provide command and control, search and rescue, and decontamination  Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing and 148th Fighter Wing provide medical support during search and rescue, medical treatment and triage, and mortuary services

One of the things that an exercise of this caliber allows is being able to work with the different units and agencies

“It’s good to see the information sharing and seeing how other states do things,” added Lt. Col. Sol Sukut, CERF-P commander “During the mission there isn’t “Airmen” or “Soldiers” there is “CERF-P,” it is a unique opportunity to be in command of a team that is both Air Force and Army and civilians”

One of the many things that the Minnesota CERF-P did during the exercise was to mentor 28 members of the Wisconsin National Guard CERF-P in Madison  The Madison CERF-P learned equipment facilitation, medical procedures, team interaction, logistics and supply, medical command and control and many other aspects of CERF-P inter-element operations

Operation Vigilant Guard was part of the larger National Level Exercise 11, a training scenario about responding to a 65-7 magnitude earthquake along the New Madrid fault line This exercise involved more than 40,000 National Guard members working with active duty Service members and federal and state emergency personnel in the successful execution of the largest interagency exercise ever

Being a CERF-P member can be stressful and labor intensive

“The dedication of these Soldiers and Airmen is amazing,” said Sukut, “regular Guardsmen train 24 days throughout the year and two weeks during the summer  CERF-P Service members usually train over 30 days more during their first year on the team and then an extra two weeks every year”

Sukut felt that the training was very rewarding and realistic 

“You gotta train like you fight,” said Sukut “We relish the opportunity to come to Volk Field and be part of Operation Vigilant Guard“

Story and photos by Army Sgt Johnny Angelo
Minnesota National Guard
17 May, 2011

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Minnesota Guardsmen learn survival skills, train with Norwegian counterparts

Posted: 2018-07-03  01:36 PM
NOREX 45 Over the course of 10 days, 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard who traveled to Norway June 17-26, 2018, for the 45th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange learned valuable survival skills and shared their knowledge with members of the Norwegian Home Guard. This year's exchange was the second to take place during the summer months in the history of the longest-running military partnership between two nations.

"It was a great experience for both the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard," said Capt. 'Kiwi' HorgA�ien, the senior Norwegian instructor. "A cultural exchange, a social exchange and military exchange all packed into one."

The 45th exchange got off to a late start, with flight delays causing the trip to be shortened from its normal length of two weeks. The delay meant that the Minnesota Guardsmen jumped right into training, heading out to the field after just a few hours of sleep.

133rd Airlift Wing Emphasizes Combat Readiness Training

Posted: 2018-06-29  10:48 AM
Alpena ALPENA, Michigan - Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participated in a readiness exercise at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Alpena, Mich.

The exercise, tagged as Iron Ore, was designed test the Airmen abilities to set up operations at an unfamiliar location and receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations.

To ensure mission success and readiness, Airmen had to complete training at home station prior to leaving for Alpena. Some of this training included weapons qualification, gas mask fit testing, Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) familiarization, self-aid and buddy care and career field training.

Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."

Minnesota-based aviation unit takes part in Warfighter Exercise

Posted: 2018-06-08  11:59 AM
34ECAB WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 150 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade are here participating in a multi-echelon training event, Warfighter Exercise 18-5, May 30 to June 15.

The exercise, which is part live and part virtual, is testing the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit's ability to conduct operations and mission command in a high-intensity, complex operating environment. Soldiers are being challenged to take decisive action as they focus on air-ground operations -- or synchronizing and integrating aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.

In this case, the units on the ground are being commanded by the Rosemount, Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is also participating in the exercise.

Article archive