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Training mission ends
1st HBCT back from homeland drill in Florida
soldiers assist with crying civilian
1st. Heavy Brigade Combat Team soldiers help a crying civilian, who is actually a soldier, during an exercise in the simulated town of Lowryville. The dramatization was one of several CCMRF training exercises used to teach 1st HBCT soldiers during operation Sudden Response 2009. - photo by Photo by Frenchi Jones
The mission continues: on to the next operation

It is late Wednesday afternoon.
The sweltering Florida heat has sweat dripping from the foreheads of more than 1,200 soldiers assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Heavy Brigade’s Combat Team.
The Raiders have been on the ground in gator country for nearly three days, where they have been conducting wellness checks, clearing roads and participating in urban search and rescue efforts — all in response to several simulated nuclear and biological attacks that happened near the city of Orlando, Fla., last Friday.
Many of them are tired, in need of some rest and a home-cooked meal.
But they have a mission to do and no one is going home until that mission has been completed.
“State officials have requested help from F.E.M.A.,” said Lt. Col. Greg Sierra, commander of 2-7 Infantry, 1st HBCT. “We’ve been asked to assist local officials with whatever humanitarian efforts they might need help with.”
Sierra emphasizes his men are acting within the regulations of Posse Comitatus, a United States federal law passed with the intention of substantially limiting the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement.
“We’re not allowed to act in the place of law enforcement,” Sierra said.
In the background, another soldier shouts, “Hurry, let’s get these people out of here,” as he and three other troops carry a bleeding, convulsing civilian out of a building on a stretcher.
A helicopter lands on a grassy patch of land behind the building, the men carry the gurney out to the field and the ill man is loaded into the chopper. 

72 hours later: down the road

Another Black Hawk has landed. This one is preparing to pick up a load.
Several people in the town of Lowryville need food.
Because of the attacks and a possible Chlorine leak, the town has been isolated.
There’s no way to get food in and out of the town.
Once again, members of the Raider brigade are called.
Cpt. Jeffrey Halladay is in charge of the operation.
Halladay is the commander of Alpha Co., 3rd Brigade Support Battalion, 1t HBCT. 
He explains what is being done. 
“Today, we’re conducting sling-load training with two loads, a load of tires and a load of MREs using a 10-ton cargo bag and a cargo net … we’re using two helicopters, [one’s] a Chinook … we’re just doing some elevator lifts, allowing the soldiers to get some blade time under the helicopters, hooking up loads,” he said.
Although the sling-load training could be used in the “real world” to get “real supplies” to “real people” who need “real help” in “real dire” situations or disasters, it, like the humanitarian efforts mentioned above, were a part of a joint-services training exercise conducted at Camp Blanding, Fla., from March 9-14.
In real-life, the simulated nuclear and chemical disaster was called Operation Sudden Response 2009.
In the exercise, the state of Florida “hypothetically” requested aid from F.E.M.A., who then called on the Joint Task Force Civil Support, a joint-services coalition under the direction of U.S. Army North.
In practice, the JTFCS then called its first officially designated emergency response team — a team made up of task force aviation, task force medical and task force operations — also known as (Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive) Consequence Management Response Force.
The 1st HBCT makes up 90 percent of the CCMRF.

Friday: the mission is complete

Ninety-six hours later and the men and women of the 1st HBCT have, theoretically, gotten food to the hungry, helped get civilians out of harm’s way and searched for missing children lost in the woods.
After several exercises are performed and the camp gets a visit from the JTFCS commander Maj. Gen. Daniel Long and the U.S. Army North commander, Lt. Gen. Thomas Turner, operation Sudden Response 2009 is complete. 
The goals of the training have been met.
Col. Roger Cloutier, commander of the 1st HBCT, reflects on the execution of the mission.
“Overall, it has been an outstanding exercise. It has allowed us to stress our system, refine our procedures and we are coming out of the exercise at a much higher level of readiness than when we started,” he said.
The soldiers have learned the key points – points Cloutier said they will also be able to use during tours overseas.
“Everything we’re doing here really applies to our upcoming deployments because you’re still operating in the field and coordinating with local government,” he said. “There is a lot of applicability of this mission to our war-time efforts.”
Until then, the 1st HBCT’s job is done.
The brigade’s convoys head home and in the words of one 1st HBCT soldier, “The mission is complete.”
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