SALINA (KSNT) – “Like a hurricane.”
That has been the motto of the Joint Reception Staging Onward Integration team at the Kansas National Guard’s Vigilant Guard 2014, Aug. 4-7, 2014, emergency preparedness exercise, according to Army Maj. Courtney Prewitt. Vigilant Guard is a multi-state emergency response exercise hosted by the Kansas National Guard at Crisis City, Salina, Kansas.
Looking at the numbers, his assessment of the situation is not far off the mark. Over the course of three days, a joint unit of Army, Air Force and civilian personnel have successfully in-processed 456 service members. The Soldiers and Airmen are flowing in from all over Kansas and four surrounding states to Salina to test and hone their skills in response to a variety of simulated natural disasters.
For the primary planning, officers of the JRSOI include Prewitt, Air Force Maj. Penny Jamvold and Capt. Richelle Shannonhouse, they have been pleased with how well their respective services have been able to work together to accomplish the complex mission of personnel accountability and in-processing.
“Really, the best and most successful part of the entire operation has been the ‘joint’ aspect,” said Jamvold. “Joint” refers to any operation that includes more than one branch of the United States military.
Shannonhouse echoed the sentiment that the Army and Air Force have truly come together during this exercise to create a seamless operation for checking service members in and performing accountability, briefing them on the exercise and sending them back to their units ready to begin training.
All of the officers admitted that there was some hesitancy during the initial planning phases of the operation. “There were a lot of personnel changes throughout the year-long planning process, and the different acronyms used by the Army and Air Force led to some initial confusion,” Jamvold said. “But through all of our dedicated efforts, Vigilant Guard has been a resounding success when it comes to personnel accountability.”
“Throughout the entire check-in process, we have not had a single unit wait more than one hour from the time they walk through the flight line door, to when they are leaving, ready to begin their training mission,” Prewitt was quick to point out.
All three of the primary planning officers acknowledged that this operation would not be successful without the dedicated efforts of not only their Soldiers and Airmen, but their civilian counterparts at the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, as well.
“KDEM provided a lot of useful guidance and were very helpful to ensure all civilians involved in the exercise were properly accounted for during their arrival in Salina,” Prewitt stated.
STORY CONTRIBUTED BY: Capt. Kevin Anderson/Kansas Army National Guard