Operation Arctic Eagle 2016

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kevin D. Schulze
  • 181st IW/PA
Indiana Air National Guard Airmen with the 19th CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Package's medical unit, 181st Intelligence Wing, set up a mobile treatment facility outside of Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital to treat victims of a simulated chemical explosion during Operation Arctic Eagle April 6, 2016.

The medical unit traveled with the rest of the 19th CERFP from the 181IW, Terre Haute, Indiana, to Camp Grayling, Michigan, where the cold weather training took place. The unit set up to treat several victims who were within the blast radius of a simulated chemical explosion that released high levels of radiation.

"This training has helped me understand how we work with the hospital," said Senior Airman Nicolette Johnson, a respiratory therapist with the 19th CERFP medical unit. "We could have patients out in the field and have to move them into the hospital and this lets us see what the hospital needs as we come into it."

The training not only helps the Airmen of the 19th CERFP, but also their civilian counterparts within the hospital.

"We get very few opportunities to do any type of training, even on our own," said Chris Rosser, the Medical Control/Trauma Program Manager at Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital. "The opportunity to get experience from other resources that you would have in real life if something like this happened is extremely invaluable."

To add to the training, Mother Nature threw a curve ball by providing icy road conditions and up to a foot of snow making the training environment even more stressful and difficult.

"With any training there are always those hiccups, and we've had those hiccups of course," Said Rosser. "But those are what you learn from and how you grow from these situations. With that being said, I think it has gone as well as mother nature has allowed us."

Despite the harsh environmental conditions, the hospital was able to receive insightful training and comprehension of how to work with this specialized military unit.

"We have found definite weaknesses that we can address and that we didn't even know existed, issues that will come up that we will be able to address for future training," said Rosser.

The 19th CERFP medical unit was also able to understand how to work hand in hand with the hospital.

It's been going very well and both parties are working very well together to get the job done, said Johnson.

With specialized capabilities and specialized training such as exercises like Operation Arctic Eagle, the 19th CERFP encompasses the National Guard's motto "Always Ready, Always There," and is prepared to serve their community, state and nation at a moment's notice.