Nevada, Arizona Guard train for hazardous situations

  • Published
  • By Spc. Adrianne Lopez,
  • 17th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Section

APEX, Nev. – Nevada Guard Soldiers and Airmen teamed with the Arizona Air Guard last week to test their ability to cohesively respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear situations.

The collective training exercise was at a mock rubble-pile training site in the small town of Apex in northern Clark County.

The Nevada National Guard has more than 200 Soldiers and Airmen on its Chemical, Biological, Radiological/Nuclear, and Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) team. The team is trained to quickly provide specialized assistance to federal and state agencies and National Guard civil support teams during and after hazardous incidents.

The Arizona Guard’s 162nd Airlift Wing based in Tucson sent its 11-Airmen Fatality Search and Recovery Team to participate in the exercise.

The National Guard established CERFP teams in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to provide quick assistance to civilian authorities in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) disasters.

Areas tested during the exercise were fatality search and recovery, search and extraction, decontamination, medical response, joint incident site communications capability, and command and control.

The Nevada Army Guard’s 17th Special Troops Battalion served as the command-and-control element for the exercise. Other Nevada Army Guard elements included the 1864th Transportation Company (decontamination element) and the 240th Engineer Company (search and extraction element). The Nevada Air Guard’s 152nd Medical Group was the medical element and the 152nd Communications Flight provided the joint incident site communications capability.

All six elements of the Nevada CERFP teamed to accomplish their training objectives for 2022. In 2023, the CERFP will receive an external evaluation and revalidate for several years. During this year’s exercise, National Guard Bureau officials provided feedback to Nevada Guard CERFP leaders to prepare the team for next year’s validation.

Brig. Gen. Troy Armstrong, Nevada Army Guard Land Component commander, and City of North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee were two of the many military and civilian leaders who viewed the training.

Armstrong recognized several Guardsmen with his coin for their extraordinary efforts during the exercise. Pfc. Arleth Morales, Spc. Nathan Sanchez and Spc. Miguel Diaz Ortiz from the Nevada Army Guard received coins. Airman 1st Class Branden Hinen from the Nevada Air Guard and Staff Sgt. Sergio Cano from the Arizona Air Guard were also recognized.

Maj. Jonathan Auch, the deputy commander of the Nevada CERFP, said that training for scary scenarios is the best way to prepare for any situation.

“We prepare to help any community clean up following any type of incident and get its citizens back on their feet,” Auch said. “The scenarios can sound really scary, but they give the Soldiers and Airmen an opportunity to experience really beneficial training.

“We work with all of our community partners and agencies to ensure that if an event does happen, we’re prepared to go out and help assist the community in any way that we can.”