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Guard launches joint response training

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - The Guam National Guard kicked-off its Vigilant Guard joint exercise with healthcare officials today. The training hopes to allow full preparation for military personnel and all first responders when dealing with disaster emergencies.  

Vigilant Guard is the training that ensures the Guam National Guard has everything it needs when assisting with disaster emergencies. Guam National Guard Spokesperson Captain Ken Ola said, "Vigilant Guard allows us to assess how our resources and our capabilities are going to be used in support of the civil authorities."

The exercise also tests the Guard's reach-back capabilities as it calls on resources from other states as well as the National Guard Bureau.  Said Captain Ola, "Part of this exercise also involves other states like California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii. They'll be sending units here to work with us in this exercise."

The Guard will be working with officials from Homeland Security, Guam Fire, Guam Police, Public Health as well as the Guam Memorial Hospital. Part of the scenario deals with a pandemic influenza, but commander of the 94th Civil Support Team, Weapons of Mass Destruction Major Mike Tuffer says they also practice how to deal with events involving terrorists.

He told KUAM News, "We received a little bit of intelligence and information indicating that there was an arrest made in the recent past and that arrest included a vehicle that contained methamphetamine and some other solvent."

The training today had Guam Police enter the building to make their findings and then allowed the National Guard to go in and assess the scene. While it's not common for the Guam Guard to take part in the training, Major Tuffer says it's definitely an effective exercise.  "This training is prepared and organized by a group, EITR out of Seattle.  They do an outstanding job very realistic," he said.

Meanwhile, residents are also asked to take caution while passing the training sites. The exercise will continue this week at the Barrigada Readiness Center, Fort Juan Muna, the Dededo Sports Complex, Southern Public Health and the Guam Memorial Hospital.

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