Indiana's 181st Intelligence Wing Airmen conduct no-notice disaster exercise
By Lt. Col. Frank Howard, 181st Intelligence Wing
/ Published January 10, 2015
HULMAN FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ind. -- Arctic weather and drifting snow blanket the Wabash Valley making outside activities and driving treacherous. Despite the bone-chilling weather conditions, Airmen from the 181st Intelligence Wing are routinely outside training to respond to winter storms and local disasters.
Airmen from the 181st IW conducted Operation Polar Plunge Tuesday and Wednesday to hone their ability to rapidly respond to severe weather conditions and disasters to provide long-range communications and incident assessment during times of disaster and severe weather conditions.
"Polar Plunge validated our rapid response, beyond-line-of-sight communications capabilities, and will act as a basis for our future disasters support packages," said Maj. Ryan Harvey, 181st IW.
Drill status Guard members, who train a weekend a month and two weeks a year, showed up to a no-notice exercise and within hours traveled by Humvee to two locations 50 miles from the base to establish long-range communications and data-link connectivity with the wing.
"My Airmen reported to the squadron from their civilian jobs and within hours of being briefed on the simulated disaster, identified the locations they needed to travel, established communications, took and sent back pictures and established a self-sustained response center for-follow on incident responders," Harvey said. "Not a bad day's work before noon!"
"The dedication and sacrifice shown by every member of the wing is truly inspiring," said Col. Kip Clark, 181st IW commander. "My Racers are the first choice for the homeland and we will continue to train and increase our capabilities to assist our Hoosier neighbors."
"Our Airmen are highly educated, trained and skilled," Clark said. "They are dedicated to supporting community, state and nation whenever called upon."