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Local in disaster-recovery exercise
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CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. — It was a peaceful, calm Friday morning near this isolated training area amid the farm-belt region of rural south central Indiana — at least until a simulated 10-kiloton nuclear explosion sent service members springing into action. The exercise, which included a fake blast and impending nuclear fallout, was designed to allow participants to test their emergency-response reactions. 
Shortly after the explosion, the son of a Hinesville couple was called upon to provide recovery support in the surrounding area. He played a vital role in getting a devastated community through the aftermath of destruction that once was unthinkable.
The attack was a mock one, but it gave Air Force Senior Airman Jonathan J. Fleming, son of Mitchell and Cheryl Bailey of Hinesville, vital training for possible future attacks in as realistic an environment as possible.
Fleming was one of more than 3,300 people from 17 states participating in “Vibrant Response,” a U.S. Northern Command-held chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear-attack-response exercise in southern Indiana that brought together active duty Army, Air Force, Marine, Navy, National Guard and Reserve units, along with numerous federal and state agencies in an effort to coordinate response actions in the aftermath of possible attacks and disasters.
Every person involved in the training had a specific job to do to ensure the post-attack effort was a success and order could be brought to the attack zone.
“I am here to provide secure and unsecure voice and data to the incident commander,” said Fleming, a Hammer Ace operator assigned to the 51st Combat Communications Squadron at Robins Air Force Base.
To make the training as realistic as possible, the 180-acre Muscatatuck Urban Training Center was littered with wrecked vehicles, buildings were built to simulate heavy damage, roads were lined with rubble and debris, controlled fires and smoke dotted the environment and mannequins representing dead victims were scattered throughout the training area. A group of 160 role players covered in moulage simulated victims with various wounds and radiation burns as survivors of the attack.
“This exercise prepares the armed forces and DoD personnel to react to a nuclear detonation,” said Fleming, a 2007 graduate of Liberty County High School.
Having the training and knowledge to react quickly and effectively to a disaster is something Fleming practices, not only during Vibrant Response, but throughout the year.
“I receive training on various means of communication, ranging from land mobile radios, and mini satellite terminals for voice and data,” he said. “I also receive training on nuclear incident responses.”
It’s almost impossible to predict something as catastrophic as a nuclear blast, but Fleming and his fellow responders have a plan that will go far in helping pick up the pieces and give survivors a chance to regain some sense of normalcy.
“Vibrant Response helps me fine-tune my skills in the event that something like this occurs,” said Fleming, who has completed three years of military service.
No one ever expects the threat of a nuclear explosion to hit close to home, but real-life scenarios like the recent earthquake disaster in Japan show why it is important to be prepared.

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