NEWS | May 25, 2018

Utah Homeland Response Force trains in Missouri seismic zone

By Staff Sgt. Lalita Laksbergs 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Members of the Utah National Guard Homeland Response Force (HRF) participated in regional disaster training in Missouri, May 14-18, as part of the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) exercise hosted by the Missouri National Guard.

The UTNG HRF is a specialized unit, part of the 97th Troop Command, trained to respond within six hours after notification to a CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive) incident, terrorist attack, or other domestic emergency in support of civil authorities. HRF Soldiers are trained in command and control, casualty search and extraction, medical triage, decontamination and force protection in order to save lives, mitigate human suffering, and prepare for future responders.

The UTNG HRF worked alongside members of the Missouri and Colorado National Guard, Boone County (Missouri) Fire Protection District, Task Force One and observers from the West Virginia National Guard Joint Interagency Training and Education Center (JITEC). These agencies participated in urban search and rescue operations in Columbia, Missouri, at the Boone County Fire Training Center responding as if the state had experienced a catastrophic 7.7 magnitude earthquake.

"The Utah National Guard is part of this exercise because we're part of the plan to support Missouri in the event of an earthquake," said Col. Scott Burnhope, commander, 97th Troop Command and HRF. "We're practicing skills that we need such as command and control and search and extraction in order to better support the mission. Every time we get a chance to work together with other partners in an event it's going to help."

The week-long, full-scale exercise included a fully staffed state emergency operations center, disaster medical assistance team, swift water rescue response, search and extraction missions and other disciplines within the participating organizations.

A catastrophic NMSZ earthquake would cause a significant public emergency, immediately straining the capabilities of local National Guard forces. Assistance from other state National Guard units would be requested to respond. The responding agencies must be able to integrate as seamlessly as possible for effective, efficient response to the community and region.

"Being able to respond and train with our partners, like the National Guard, gives us the ability to be even stronger in response to what the people and communities are going to need for our state," said Chuck Leake, task force leader, Missouri Task Force One. Leake also serves as the assistant chief of the Boone County Fire Protection District.

"The one big positive I want to highlight from all of this is the consistency of the [National] Guard spirit. The people that we work with in the Missouri National Guard, we have enjoyed working with for many years," said Leake. "What we've seen with Utah and Colorado National Guard personnel who are here is that they have the same dedication, the same spirit. These are real world scenarios, with real world people working side-by-side and they did so very well."

Throughout the exercise, members of the 116th Engineer Company, UTNG, trained with other local Missouri agencies during search and extraction missions, shoring of unstable structures and breaching of structures to reach hypothetical patients. The eight Soldiers from the 116th Engineer Company involved in the exercise are part of the 50 members assigned to the search and extraction team.

"I've been doing this for five years now and we've worked with Utah and Colorado Task Forces and now the Missouri Task Force," said Sgt. Nathan Olsen, Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 116th Engineer Company, 1457th Engineer Battalion. "This training helps us better prepare for the event of something bad happening. If a task force needs extra hands, we're there to help and integrate with them really well."

The UTNG HRF is one of 10 HRFs in the U.S., each assigned to a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) region for response.

"FEMA Region 8 HRF would be the responding team to the state of Missouri in the event of a New Madrid earthquake," said Leake. "So the Utah HRF, being the FEMA Region 8 HRF, would respond in."

Each HRF is composed of more than 500 National Guard personnel. The core of each HRF is CBRNE response and substantial command and control and security capabilities. The HRF is capable of managing a catastrophic event and bridges coordination between National Guard response and Federal capabilities.

"The HRF mission is critical given the increased danger that we have responding to domestic terror or disasters," said Lt. Col. Tom Mills, exercise director, West Virginia National Guard, JITEC. "HRFs are trained to respond to these particular hazards and events with their specialized training that other units throughout the country may not have."

The UTNG HRF was established in 2012 as part of a larger reorganization of the Department of Defense's domestic consequence management enterprise, recommended in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review.




Your Career Starts Here

U.S. Army Cpl. Spencer Fayles with Utah’s 144th Area Support Medical Company, receives a certificate of participation during the Region VII Best Warrior Competition award ceremony on the island of Guam, May 26, 2022. This annual competition featured the best noncommissioned officer and Soldier from eight different states and territories including Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Testing competitors’ skills and knowledge and pushing them to their limits, the competition graded each participant in key areas such as basic Soldier skills, marksmanship under stress, land-navigation, and physical fitness. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Jordan Hack)
Two Utah Soldiers awaken "Warrior Spirit" at Region VII Best Warrior Competition
By Staff Sgt. Jordan Hack | June 4, 2022
A Soldier’s transformation into a warrior is difficult to describe. Hand-picked by leadership, proving themselves with every drop of sweat, every sore muscle, and every labored breath; Soldiers who compete naturally don the...

Brig. Gen. Frank Gräfe, the defense attaché from the Federation of Germany to the United States, (left) and Brig. Gen. Daniel D. Boyack, Commander of the Utah Air National Guard & Assistant Adjutant General-Air, (right) pose using the iconic “thumbs up” that Gail Halvorsen was known for on May 20th at the Provo City Cemetary. The Utah Air National Guard was in attendance to show support and honor the heroic efforts of Gail Halvorsen. (Utah Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt Nicholas Perez)
Honoring a war hero who delivered hope
By Staff Sgt. Nicholas Perez | May 31, 2022
Ret. U.S. Air Force Col. Gail Halvorsen, known as the “Candy Bomber”, was honored by top leadership from the Utah Air National Guard, Utah National Guard, and Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany with the laying of two...

The Utah National Guard FEMA Region VIII Homeland Response Force held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Collapsed Structure Venue Site which included a demonstration and static display of capabilities May 10, 2022 at Camp Williams, Utah. The CSVS is one of only three military owned Urban Search and Rescue training venues west of the Rocky Mountains. This CSVS will allow both military search and extract and civilian search and rescue teams the opportunity to train together and build those necessary partnerships needed in an “all hazards” response. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Sgt. John Etheridge)
Camp Williams adds a Premiere Search and Extraction Training Site to Benefit the Homeland Response Force, State, Region, and Nation.
By Lt. Col. Robert Ramage Warden | May 11, 2022
The Utah National Guard has a new training site for the Region VIII Homeland Response Force’s search and extraction team, as well as partner civilian urban search and rescue teams. Lt. Col. Erick R. Wiedmeier, commander of...

Members of the Combined Veterans Honor Guard joined members from the Utah National Guard Honor Guard in conducting military funeral honors for the remains of Cpl. David Milano April 29, 2022 in Ogden, Utah. Milano went missing in action Dec. 2, 1950, during the Korean War. After 71 years, his remains have been repatriated to the United States and have been laid to rest on U.S. soil. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Sgt. John Etheridge)
A Family's Faith: Chosin Soldier Comes Home
By Staff Sgt. Jordan Hack | May 3, 2022
Often referred to as “the Forgotten War,” the Korean War’s significance tends to be overshadowed by World War II and the Vietnam War. Even in that light, it’s nothing short of a miracle that Korean War service members are...

Chief Warrant Officer4 Deena Haag
The Utah National Guard Celebrates Women’s History Month in March 2022
By (Courtesy article) | March 31, 2022
During the month of March, the Utah National Guard celebrates Women’s History and honors and acknowledges the struggles and achievements of American women throughout the history of the United States. Women have played a vital...

The 2-222nd Field Artillery Battalion, “Triple Deuce,” held a reunion for all current and former members of the unit March 19, 2022, at the Stanley A. Staheli Readiness Center in St. George, Utah. This event marks the fifth time in the last eight years that the group has rallied to reunite and reflect on their time spent in service to the nation, state, and community of Southern Utah.
2-222 Field Artillery Battalion “Triple Deuce” holds reunion for former and current members
By Maj. Emilio Suazo | March 19, 2022
The 2-222nd Field Artillery Battalion, “Triple Deuce,” held a reunion for all current and former members of the unit March 19, 2022, at the Stanley A. Staheli Readiness Center in St. George, Utah...

Brig. Gen. Tyler Smith receives his certificate of retirement from Maj. Gen. Michael Turley, adjutant general, Utah National Guard, at his retirement ceremony, March 14, 2022, at Camp Williams, Utah. Smith, whose most recent assignment was assistant adjutant general-Army, Utah National Guard, was joined by family, friends and community members to celebrate his 36-year career in the military. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Sgt. John Etheridge)
Brig. Gen. Tyler B. Smith, former assistant adjutant general-Army, retires after 35-years of service
By Staff Sgt. Ariel Solomon | March 16, 2022
Family, friends, co-workers and community members gathered to say farewell to Brig. Gen. Tyler Smith, the former assistant adjutant general-Army, Utah National Guard, at his retirement ceremony March 15, 2022, in the Lundell...

Maj. Gen Michael Turley, adjutant general, Utah National Guard, passes the organizational colors to Brig. Gen. Joseph Green during a change-of-command ceremony March 13, 2022 at Draper, Utah. During the change-of-command ceremony, Brig. Gen. Joseph Green assumed the role of assistant adjutant general-Army, Utah National Guard, from Brig. Gen. Tyler Smith. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Ariel J. Solomon)
Utah National Guard promotes and welcomes new assistant adjutant general-Army at change-of-command ceremony
By 1st Sgt. John Etheridge | March 14, 2022
The Utah National Guard welcomed its new assistant adjutant general-Army at a change-of-command ceremony March 13, 2022, at its headquarters building in Draper, Utah...

Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Brown passes the 97th Troop Command colors to Col. Tammy Manwaring during the change-of-command ceremony on Camp Williams, Utah, March 13, 2022. Manwaring will then pass the colors on to her successor, symbolically relinquishing her responsibility as the unit's commander. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Cpl. Alejandro Lucero)
97th Troop Command conducts change of responsibility
By Cpl. Alejandro Lucero | March 12, 2022
The 97th Troop Command, Utah Army National Guard, conducted a change-of-command ceremony at the Lundell Readiness Center on Camp Williams, Utah, March 13, 2022. During the ceremony, Col. Tammy Manwaring relinquished command...

Sgt. First Class Robert Conder, a soldier with the 141st Military Intelligence Battalion, Utah National Guard, and members of Boy Scout troop take a break from collecting and loading donations for the Scouting for Food drive in Draper, Utah, Feb. 12, 2022. The Utah National Guard is committed to the Scouting for Food drive as it unites Utahns from multiple counties in the fight against hunger. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Alejandro Lucero)
Utah National Guard Assists Boy Scouts to Feed Utah Families
By Sgt. James Bunn | Feb. 17, 2022
Soldiers from the Utah National Guard partnered with Boy Scouts of America to collect food donations across Utah for Scouting for Food Day Feb. 12, 2022. This year approximately 75 Utah National Guard members helped deliver...