Members of the 300th Chemical Company, a U.S. Army Reserve Unit from Morgantown, W.Va., assist role-playing victims and check the area for contamination Aug. 2, 2013, during the U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) led exercise Vibrant Response 13-2 at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, Muscatatuck, Ind. The unit is responsible for searching for and extracting trapped people, as well as ensuring the area is safe for first responders and medical personnel. VR13-2 is a major field training exercise conducted by U.S. Northern Command and led by Army North. Military members and civilians from various federal agencies are in Indiana training to respond in the event of a catastrophic domestic incident.
DVIDS/Staff Sgt. Thomas Collins
(Butlerville, Ind.) - A massive military training exercise takes place this month at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Jennings County.
About 5,500 service members from all branches from 23 states gathered at the Butlerville starting Wednesday, July 31. They’ll be participating in Exercise Vibrant Response 13-2, the U.S. Department of Defense’s largest test of the U.S. military’s response to a disaster, through August 16.
It is the sixth such exercise ever held at Muscatatuck. This one will present a scenario which hopefully will never have to be put to real use: a man-made nuclear detonation.
In order to make Muscatatuck look as close to a real bomb-ravaged area, troops have spent days placing ruble and debris throughout the 1,000 acre urban training facility littered with 300 structures. The first responders will even see blankets with distress messages spray-painted on them hanging from buildings. Smoke, fire, and smells will heighten the realism.
“Our goal is to make this as seamless as possible,” said Sgt. Maj. Tyrone Benham, facility senior noncommissioned officer. “The second that first responder hits Muscatatuck, they should feel like they have stepped into a disaster. If we do our job good enough, that’s what will happen.”
Volunteers will pose act as victims of the disaster.
Indiana U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly and members of the Senate Armed Forces Committee will be among those in attendance to witness the exercise.
A video summarizing a similar exercise held at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in 2012 can be viewed at http://www.mutc.in.ng.mil/PUBLICAFFAIRS/MUTCLatestNews/tabid/817/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/1123/Looking-Back-on-Vibrant-Response-13.aspx.