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News | May 14, 2007

Soldiers’ deployment augments training exercise

By Chief Mass Communications Specialist Greg Bingaman Joint Task Force-Alaska Public Affairs

NORTH POLE, Alaska - Nebraska Army National Guard Soldiers used their experiences from their deployment to Iraq to add realism to a homeland defense terrorist attack scenario conducted in collaboration with civilian first responder authorities May 10 in North Pole, Alaska.

The Soldiers were here to augment Alaska Shield/Northern Edge 2007, Alaska's portion of an annual national training exercise designed to hone interagency cooperation and response to emergencies such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks.

In a multiple vehicle improvised explosive attack scenario, the Soldiers performed security at a mock check point while simulated terrorists attacked the North Pole Refinery Complex - a location linked to the state's energy sector.

"With all our training, instinct just kicked in, just like when we were in country," said Spc. Leonard Robinson, 1st Squadron,167th Cavalry Regiment.

While deployed, the Soldiers of the 1-167th Cavalry Squadron provided security for forward operating bases, oil refineries and tactical check points.

"Everything clicked, we had good communications and things ran smoothly," said Specialist Robison. "I really enjoyed the exercise; our combat life saver training really helped."

The attack involved the detonation of a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device resulting in a mass casualty situation.

The Soldiers integrated seamlessly with local civilian first responders from North Pole and Fairbanks, Alaska, alongside Air National Guard medics to triage and transport more than 150 simulated casualties to the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

Spc. Drew Scott, another member of the National Guard Quick Response Team said, "We treated the exercise like it was just another mission in country. Since 9 /11 there have been a lot more threats or scares against refineries and other high priority targets. Exercises like these provide realistic training for real events."

For more information on Alaskan Shield/ Northern Edge call (907) 552-0592 or visit the official web site at www.elmendorf.af.mil/northernedge.index.asp.