Colo. National Guard Soldiers, Airmen on 'Vigilant Guard' in Arizona

  • Published
  • By Air Force Capt. Darin Overstreet
  • CONG JFHQ Public Affairs
The Colorado National Guard is participating in a national, multi-agency Vigilant Guard exercise in Arizona this week.

The 2011 Arizona state-wide "Vigilant Guard" exercise is the largest emergency response exercise to simulated catastrophic events in Arizona's history and will test the ability to respond to a simulated flood and a simulated improvised nuclear device.

As would be the case in an actual emergency, nearby states would assist in disaster mitigation and recovery.

Deploying from Colorado is the Colorado National Guard CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-yield Explosive) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP), which is made up of more than 140-Soldiers and Airmen.

The CERFP is a team that brings with it four primary capabilities: search and extraction, mass decontamination, medical triage, and command and control.

A CERFP is a self-sustaining entity, typically manned and equipped to support an event for roughly three days before needing to transition responsibility to a new team.

This exercise will test the CERFP's capability to handoff responsibility to another CERFP, when the Colorado unit transitions responsibility to the California National Guard's CBRNE team of the California Homeland Response Force.

"Exercises like this allow us to ensure we are prepared and trained for real-world disasters," said Adjutant General of Colorado Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards. "I've observed our team in action numerous times and I'm fully confident in their abilities."

In 2013, Colorado will host the annual Vigilant Guard exercise. Over the course of the next 18 months, multiple agencies will be planning for the exercise. For any agencies interested in participating, contact Jason Finhout, Colorado Division of Emergency Management, 720-852-6618.

Representatives from the Colorado National Guard can provide a Vigilant Guard exercise brief, if desired.