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National Guard, partners to conduct ORCA 21 CBRNE exercise

Members of the Michigan National Guard’s 51st Civil Support Team run through decontamination procedures during Northern Exposure 21, March 16, 2021, at Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Northern Exposure 21 was integrated with another exercise known as Rising Waters 2021. This year's scenario was catastrophic flooding leading to chemical contamination, which was followed by a possible WMD situation.

Members of the Michigan National Guard’s 51st Civil Support Team run through decontamination procedures during Northern Exposure 21, March 16, 2021, at Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Northern Exposure 21 was integrated with another exercise known as Rising Waters 2021. This year's scenario was catastrophic flooding leading to chemical contamination, which was followed by a possible WMD situation.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – Hundreds of National Guard Civil Support Team units from 11 states will participate in Exercise ORCA 2021 in Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Valley and Seward with emergency responders and other Guard units.

During the May 17-21 exercise, participants will respond to hazardous materials scenarios, test interoperability between agencies and strengthen working relationships.

This year’s ORCA is unprecedented in terms of the number of CST units participating. Training will occur at the Mat-Su Fire Training Facility, Anchorage Fire Training Facility, University of Alaska-Anchorage campus, Port of Alaska Anchorage, Port of Seward, and the Alaska Railroad in Seward.

A CH-47 Chinook helicopter will respond to a situation requiring a landing zone at a parking lot in Seward.

Participating local agencies and organizations include the Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Matanuska-Susitna Emergency Management, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Major Marine Tours, Alaska Railroad, Anchorage Fire Department, Alaska State Emergency Operations Center, University of Alaska-Anchorage, Port of Seward, and the Port of Alaska-Anchorage.

National Guard CST units from California, Connecticut, Colorado, Idaho, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin are joining Alaska’s CST. The Alaska National Guard’s 207th Aviation Battalion, Joint Operations Center, and 176th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Emergency Management section will also be involved. The 196th Infantry Brigade, U.S. Army Pacific, is facilitating the planning and execution of Exercise ORCA21.

National Guard CST units support local, state and federal authorities at domestic nuclear, biological or chemical incidents by identifying agents and substances, assessing consequences, advising on response measures, and assisting with requests for additional military support.

More than 400 military and civilian personnel are involved in ORCA21, including about 300 National Guardsmen.

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