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Indiana Guard members conduct interagency response mission
US Army | Aug. 10, 2021
CAMP ATTERBURY, Indiana – It’s a quiet and muggy day on the ranges of Camp Atterbury. There is not a cloud in sight and the sun seems to be here to stay. If you listen closely, you can hear the chopping of fan blades getting louder by the second. The UH-60 helicopter breaks the horizon of trees in no time, launching leaves, dirt and debris into a tornado-like whirlwind across landing zone Kliber.
These Soldiers and Airmen are participating in training that can one day save a life. They are responding to a simulated helicopter crash with the support of their civilian counterparts.
“This alert was certainly a surprise. I was working on other inspections,” said Troy Jackson, the Camp Atterbury firefighter inspector. “But I’m glad it was a surprise; the realistic aspect is important to testing our skills on responding and assessing the downed aircraft and calling for additional resources and support.”
The 38th Combat Aviation Brigade Guardsmen are conducting a full-scale response mission with the Defense Department civilians from Camp Atterbury Airfield, Transportation and Fire. This mission challenges the swift preparedness of our interagency operations in the event of a helicopter crash at Camp Atterbury.
At approximately 10:45 Friday morning, black smoke begins to rise from the Kliber landing zone.
The airfield team took notice and immediately began their notification steps. Just minutes later, the Camp Atterbury fire and first responders arrived on the scene and began to take quick action to ensure the location is secured and all notional injuries receive treatment.
With the absence of actual injury, this is the easy part of the exercise; the investigations, paperwork, photos and series of endless phone calls will challenge this team of military and civilian responders. Between unit leadership to base maintenance, the telephone game announcing this tragic notional incident will initiate action with nearly every directorate across the Indiana National Guard.
These exercises ensure seamless action and communication during difficult times while building trust and dependency between our soldiers and civilian responders, said Col. Matthew Handy, the 38th Combat Aviation Brigade commander.
Airfield Manager Rich Clark agreed with the aviation commander.
“We have a lot of aviation assets that come here to train not only from the state of Indiana but also from all over the nation,” Clark said. “It is important for them to know when they get here that we have a good crash rescue system set up and that if they encounter any accident or incident, they can count on us.”
It would have been easy for the civic organizations to half-heartedly move through the motions and our Soldiers to check the boxes so everyone could get into some air condition. But that was not the case here.
Camp Atterbury witnessed a team effort that took this exercise seriously and professionally, helping one another every step of the way.
The joint force cannot stand ready to fight America’s wars without preparation, its partners and proper training this scenario provided. Allies and partners, at home and abroad, are what increase America’s strength and resiliency.