181st Intelligence Wing Members Deploy for Disaster Preparedness training

  • Published
  • By Maj. Frank Howard
  • 181 IW/Wing Executive Staff Officer
The 181st Intelligence Wing's Medical Element of the 19th CERFP deployed from Terre Haute, Indiana, this Saturday October the 6th to participate in a disaster response exercise hosted by IU Health, Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana. The 181st Intelligence Wing's Medical Support Element and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Task Force 6 participated in a natural disaster exercise involving a hospital suffering damage by a tornado and forcing the patients to be evacuated to another facility or hospital while simultaneously dealing with those injured by the tornado.
The 19th CERFP is the joint Indiana National Guard's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package. Composed of Indiana National Guard Airmen and Soldiers, the unique disaster response force package's mission is to come to the aid of the citizens of Indiana in the event of catastrophic disaster whether it be natural or a terrorist attack. According to 2nd Lt. Michael Deakins, a bio-environmental engineer with the 181 IW, "this exercise is the first time just the medical element has deployed," an occurrence that is likely to happen during a real natural disaster response.
"The purpose of the exercise is train with state, county, and local agencies to increase our understanding of what we all bring to a disaster response," said Capt. Leanna K. Edwards, Medical Element Operations Officer. "The exercise centers on response to a natural disaster forcing first response organizations to deal with existing patients as well as additional injured personnel."
Task Force 6 covers 13 counties in Indiana and is responsible for responding to natural and manmade disasters that overwhelm local facilities. When asked about the 181st Intelligence Wing, Greg Michael, the EMS Element leader for District 6 Medical Task Force, stated "Finding a place to bring patients to in a disaster is the number one challenge. It's nice to have a field hospital to take patients for first line triage before evacuating them to more distant facilities."
Deploying from Terre Haute's airport at Hulman Field, demonstrates one of the many capabilities of the 181st Intelligence Wing's Medical Element, according to Col. Donald Bonte Jr., commander, 181st Intelligence Wing. "The 181st plays a key role in CERFP because of its strategic location, infrastructure and well-maintained runways," Col. Bonte said. "This mission showcases the Wing's continued readiness and reliability in providing support to the state of Indiana in times of crisis."

Editor's Note: Please contact Maj Frank Howard at 812-877-5658 or francis.howard@ang.af.mil with any questions.