by Lt. Col. Laura Forgerty
183d Air Operations Group
9/2/2015 - SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Members
from the Illinois Army and Air National Guard recently hosted an
earthquake response exercise at the 183rd Fighter Wing and the Joint
Forces Headquarters with the coordination of the Illinois Emergency
The joint exercise provided incident management and emergency management
teams, agency technical experts and military personnel from U.S.
Northern Command, the Polish Armed Forces and other state agencies to
support the military's training scenario.
"We gained a tremendous amount of insight by having IEMA, other civilian
agencies, National Guard Bureau, U.S. NORTHCOM and Poland participating
in this event," said Col. Rick G. Yoder, commander of the joint task
force. "It's critical to strengthen partnerships with local, state and
federal personnel before a disaster happens."
The exercise simulated a 7.2 magnitude earthquake centered on the New
Madrid Seismic Zone. More than 200 Army and Air National Guard members
and over 100 civilian emergency management personnel participated in the
The National Guard has a standing mission to provide support to civil
authorities during natural disasters. The joint task force provides
command and control of military personnel and equipment in support of
civil authorities during a complex catastrophe like an earthquake.
"We want to be able to respond rapidly and efficiently, and training
together supports that goal," said Yoder. "We train the force to
anticipate need. It's ultimately about saving lives and property."