181st IW Participates in PATRIOT 2012

  • Published
  • By Lt Col John R. Puckett
  • 181st Intelligence Wing
When a simulated earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale struck Wisconsin last Monday, followed the next day by another rumble measuring 6.0, 1100 personnel from 24 states responded to the disaster. The 181st Intelligence Wing of Terre Haute, Ind., provided two of those responders--the 19th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) and the Fatality and Services Recovery Response Team (FSRT).
The simulated earthquakes closed roads and bridges and collapsed buildings as part of the exercise known as PATRIOT 2012. Along with the 181st IW, the exercise involved government agencies ranging from the FBI to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Civilian Air Patrol.
PATRIOT 2012 provided interagency training on domestic operations and promoted the integration of primary disaster response forces and secondary disaster response forces in a realistic hands-on scenario.
"This exercise presented a great training opportunity for the 19th CERFP," said Lt. Col. Robert Abbinett Jr., the Medical Element officer-in-charge. "PATRIOT 2012 allowed our 
members to accomplish mission-essential training for CERFP that was not available locally."
The mission of the 19th CERFP was to provide support to disaster casualties through medical care ranging from cuts and bruises to deep lacerations and unconscious patients.
"This was realistic training," Abbinett said. "It sharpened our skills and helped to refine our goal of responding to a local disaster within three hours and being able to process 300 people an hour."
FSRTs were established to augment the CERFP's casualty and extraction teams, and the 181st IW deployed 11 FSRT members to participate in the simulated earthquake recovery. During PATRIOT 2012, these members were realistically trained on body recovery by enduring the sights and smells of decayed animal carcasses as they searched through wreckage clouded by billowing smoke.
"This was very realistic training," said Captain Randi Brown, the FSRT officer-in-charge. "The PATRIOT 2012 exercise was the first time the Fatality and Services Recovery Response Team has participated in a disaster scenario. I think we did an outstanding job."
Agencies participating in PATRIOT 2012 provided unit-specific objectives and goals.
"Thirty-seven members deployed here via a C-5," said Colonel Patti Mook, Commander of the 181st Medical Group. "The entire process validated our ability to respond to disasters anywhere in the United States."