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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard Joint Communications Platform supports exercise

Joint Communications Platform DULUTH, Minn- The 148th Fighter Wing's Joint Communications Platform (JCP) was on-scene at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC), Duluth, Minn Aug 25 2015 to support the Red Cross as part of Vigilant Guard 2015, a National Guard Bureau-US Northern Command initiative that is intended to foster and enhance cooperation between National Guard and state interagency partners

"We're here to support and demonstrate what our capabilities are It [the JCP] provides data and radio, telephone communications, and we also have army and civilian internet," said Master Sgt Tom Walden, 148th Fighter Wing information technology specialist "We're demonstrating it to the people that are coming down here to check out the Red Cross' exercise, so they know that the capabilities are there and they can ask for our support if they need it"

One of Red Cross' objectives for Vigilant Guard is to simulate a mass sheltering scenario within the DECC facility -- a situation they have trained for in the past, and one a JCP could provide communications support for as needed

"We've opened shelters before, and partner-shelters are what we're really working on," said Tony Guerra, Red Cross Disaster Program manager "We love having the partners in the shelters because they know the community much better than the Red Cross folks -- that's one of the benefits Today we have a great opportunity to make some mistakes and learn from them -- we'd rather do it here than during an actual disaster"

One of three JCP's in the state of Minnesota, the 148th's vehicle is equipped with generators to provide back-up electrical power and the ability to conference and connect or bridge multiple telephone and radio systems

The JCP is among the most valuable assets the Minnesota National Guard can bring to a domestic emergency It provides the ability to connect the communication platforms of the wide variety of agencies that respond, helping to ensure a coordinated and efficient response among all agencies

Initially brought into service in 2006, the JCP's have provided critical back-up to efforts such as flood relief in the southeast part of the state, remote north woods connectivity for annual sled dog races, fighting fires in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and in support of the Republican National Convention in St Paul September 2008

Story by Tech Sgt Scott Herrington
Aug 25, 2015



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