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200th RED HORSE support 2015 Homeland Response Force

  • Published
  • By Lt Ashley Klase
  • 200th RED HORSE Squadron
The 200th RED HORSE Squadron (RHS) Det. 1, Mansfield, Ohio, hosted the 73rd Troop Command Brigade Homeland Response Force (HRF) during an exercise by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 5 Homeland Response Force on May 2, 2015. FEMA uses these types of exercises to identify strengths and incorporate best practices. While FEMA Region 5 moves the exercises throughout the State of Ohio, 200th RHS became an essential means of support by creating and maintaining the tent city for the exercise. RHS hosted members from the Air National Guard, 179th Airlift Wing, Mansfield, Ohio, the 125th Intelligence Squadron and 269th Combat Communications Squadron, from 178th Wing, Springfield, Ohio. This exercise was a precursor to RED HORSE supporting the HRF's June 14 - 26 Special Focus Event (SFE) and External Evaluation (EXEVAL) exercise held at Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center (CRJMTC). RED HORSE members were integrated into the Future Operations (FUOPS) section of the HRF and provided vital input and guidance during the initial set-up and development of Courses of Action. Courses of Action are needed to ensure mission success. The EXEVAL is conducted in June happens every three years in a "Go/No-Go" evaluation.

The SFE and EXEVAL exercise in Jun at Camp Ravenna trained personnel from Enhanced Response Force (CERFP) teams to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) events. The exercise also created a life-like experience for the Command and Control (C2) team on communicating and working with civilian authorities and incident commanders.  The CERFP teams practiced search and extraction (S&E) procedures from a real rubble pile, while other teams practiced setting up and running decontamination and medical fundamentals.  These elaborate scenarios employed civilian actors to accurately simulate injuries and casualties throughout the S&E, decontamination and medical stages.  They also take into account real world weather analysis to project and analyze chemical plume models and send teams throughout the state to train effectively on communication and logistics when all elements are truly deployed to various locations.

While the majority of the exercise was performed by the 73rd Troop Command of Ohio Army National Guard, Ohio Air National Guard personnel provided medical, communications, intelligence and operations support. The RED HORSE FUOPS team participated in the initial "War Gaming" by providing input into the planning discussions and decisions; including providing knowledge of Air Force and RED HORSE assets and operations knowledge.  The RED HORSE FOUPS team worked with personnel from operations, communications, intelligence, logistics, medical, and numerous other sections to write Warning Orders (WARNORD), Operation Orders (OPORD) and Fragmented Orders (FRAGORD).  These orders are distributed to each element of the HRF to initiate execution of their assigned tasks and roles. The entire exercise process fully integrated Army and Air personnel from the command level down to the individual soldiers and airmen responding to the simulated events.

The HRF mission statement "When directed the NG Homeland Response Force alerts, assembles and deploys to save lives and mitigate human suffering and prepares for follow on forces" reflects the HRF focus on saving lives and reducing human suffering in the event of a CBRNE incident.  Col. Andrew Stephan, 200 RED HORSE Commander said "The 200 RED HORSE plays a vital role in this mission.  Not only was RED HORSE home to the training event at Mansfield, but RED HORSE members provided critical knowledge, skills, and equipment necessary to conduct the actual mission."

In the event of a large scale emergency, the Ohio National Guard must be ready to assist the public at a moment's notice.  The yearly HRF exercise provides the necessary hands on training and familiarity of working together that ensures Army and Air National Guard personnel are ready when the nation calls.