NEWS | Dec. 9, 2021

On the line, rescue training with ropes

By Sgt. James Bunn Utah National Guard

It’s dark, and you can’t remember what happened or where you are. All you know is you’re scared, trapped, and your head hurts, when suddenly you see a headlamp and your rescuer repelling down the staircase of what you assume used to be your office building. It is a worse-case scenario but the worse case is exactly what Soldiers and Airmen in civil support teams train for. As a chemical response team trained to operate in confined spaces and from the end of a rope, when disaster strikes, it may be one of these service members who comes to the rescue.

The Utah National Guard’s 85th Weapons of Mass Destruction–Civil Support Team or CST conducted joint training with teams from Hawaii, the 93rd CST, and Guam, the 94th CST, Nov. 16-18, 2021, in St. George, Utah. Civil support teams need to be proficient in chemical, nuclear, and biologic medical response, as well as operating in confined spaces and rope-rescue techniques.

According to Sgt. 1st Class Zachary White, the survey section noncommissioned officer with the 85th CST, the weather and diverse locations in Southern Utah provided the perfect area for the teams to practice and exercise critical thinking while conducting rope-rescue training.

“This training’s really important to the CST because at any given time we could be asked to support local authorities and these are some of the skills we are required to have,” said White. “This is really beneficial because rope-rescue skills are perishable. Being able to brush up on these skills is very valuable.”

Guam and Hawaii are both in Utah’s CST response area and if necessary, the 85th CST could be asked to support those locations. Training with them provided an opportunity for the organizations to learn from each other and familiarize themselves with each other’s operating procedures.

“Guam and Hawaii are both in our CST response region and it’s always good to train with people we may work with in the future,” said White. “It’s good to bring them here, show them our beautiful state and train with them in terrain they may not otherwise get to see.”

The training event focused on repelling and recovering patients from a location with steep vertical angles. St. George provided a perfect spot for the training with its many natural features and repelling locations. Staff Sgt. Christopher Petersen, 85th CST training noncommissioned officer, said even though they are not training in a confined space in St. George, the natural features and various locations allows them to train in an area that offers diverse opportunities in a relatively controlled environment and the skills they learn and develop translate well to operating in confined spaces.

The unit took a crawl, walk, run approach to the training. The first day was spent training on the operation patient recovery equipment, personal safety gear, and tying essential knots for repelling and recovering a patient. The second day, the training focused on repelling down a cliff face and exercising their recovery equipment and procedures. On the third day, the units put all the skills they learned together and conducted a mock exercise consisting of surveying a slot canyon in Southern Utah, identifying victims at the bottom of the canyon, and rescuing them.

“When it comes to rope rescue, these are the types of environments you would expect to conduct a rescue and in Utah there are no better locations than Southern Utah to conduct that type of training,” said White. “Within the CST we have a wide variety of expertise. Today, we are running through basic rope-rescue skills, the next day we’re actually doing rescue lanes, and on the following day we’re doing a rescue. That provides us the opportunity to cater to each individual's level of proficiency.”

From the bottom of a slot canyon service members put all the training they received to the test. The final day of the training consisted of a rescue mission exercise. The teams surveyed the area, developed a plan, repelled down to a patient and returned them to the top of the canyon. While it was just a training event, the skills they honed have real-world value and prepare them for real-world situations.

 

 

 

Your Career Starts Here

Utah Army National Guard Master Sgt. Shane Richards of Joint Forces Headquarters completes a pull up during the physical assessment at the Utah National Guard Best Warrior Competition on Camp Williams, Utah, Nov. 8. 2021.  The Best Warrior Competition tests Soldier readiness by enforcing training of soldiering skills in a competitive atmosphere. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. William Cowley)
Utah Soldiers compete in state-level Best Warrior Competition
By Sgt. Nathan Baker | Dec. 9, 2021
Major commands from throughout the Utah Army National Guard sent their strongest, fittest and most capable Soldiers from across the state to compete for the title of Best Warrior at Camp Williams, Utah, Nov 7-10, 2021...

Representatives from the Ministry of Health and Population, USAID and the Utah National Guard greet each other as medical supplies to help aid Nepal’s COVID-19 response are offloaded from a KC-135 Stratotanker from the Utah National Air Guard.
Utah Air National Guard transports life-saving equipment to Nepal
By Ileen Kennedy | Aug. 30, 2021
– As COVID-19 infections have continued to be reported around the world, many countries healthcare facilities have quickly became overwhelmed and run short on equipment and supplies to care for the large number of patients...

Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Jeff Burton (center), the previous adjutant general of the Utah National Guard, receives the Bronze Minuteman award from Maj. Gen. Michael Turley (left), adjutant general of the Utah National Guard, and Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Brian Tarbet (right), commander Honorary Colonels Corps, Aug. 12, 2021, at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Bronze Minuteman Award recognizes community leaders for their extraordinary support and leadership to the citizens of Utah. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class John Etheridge)
Utah National Guard and Honorary Colonels recognize pillars of the community with Bronze Minuteman Awards
By Sgt. 1st Class John Etheridge | Aug. 18, 2021
The Utah National Guard and the Honorary Colonels Corps honored six civic leaders at the 59th Annual Bronze Minuteman Awards dinner, Aug. 12, 2021, at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City...

Freedom Academy delegates pose in front of the Utah State Capitol building Aug. 3, 2021 at the Utah State Capitol, Salt Lake City, Utah. The Utah National Guard and the Honorary Colonels Corps has sponsored Freedom Academy since 1961. It is designed to teach young leaders the importance of freedom, that it comes with a price, and that leadership is essential to its survival. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Nathan Baker)
High-school seniors from across Utah gather to pass on torch of freedom
By Sgt. Nathan Baker | Aug. 9, 2021
Following a year-long break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Utah National Guard invited high school student leaders from around the state to take part in the 59th Annual Freedom Academy held Aug. 1-6, 2021, at Camp...

Col. Shawn M. Fuellenbach, the incoming commander of the 65th Field Artillery Brigade passes the organizational colors to Maj. Gen. Michael Turley, the adjutant general, Utah National Guard, during a change-of-command ceremony Aug. 8, 2021, at Camp Williams, Utah. Fuellenbach took command of the 65th FAB from Col. Steven Fairbourn during the ceremony. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Rebecca Call)
America’s Thunder welcomes new commander
By Sgt. Rebecca Call | Aug. 9, 2021
The 65th Field Artillery Brigade said farewell to their outgoing commander and welcomed their incoming commander at a change-of-command ceremony Aug. 8, 2021, at Camp Williams, Utah...

Camp Rucker:  circa 1942
WWII Veteran, Warren Olsen, celebrates his 100th birthday
By Ileen Kennedy | Aug. 2, 2021
World War II veteran, Warren Olsen, turned 100 at his residence in Logan, Utah, Aug. 2, 2021. Despite being 100, he still does his own laundry and cheers up other residents at the assisted living center where he resides...

A staff sergeant (name withheld for security) from the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) navigates the obstacle course during the U.S. Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition at Camp Navajo Military Reservation, Arizona July 21, 2021. The staff sergeant won the competition and was crowned U.S. Army National Guard Noncomissioned Officer of the Year and will move on to the Department of the Army competition later this year at Fort Knox, Kentucky. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class John Etheridge).
Two Utah Soldiers Compete in National Best Warrior Contest, One Wins Title
By Sgt. 1st Class John Etheridge | July 28, 2021
Fresh off their victories in the state and region levels, two Utah National Guard Soldiers competed in the U.S. Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition held July 19-23, 2021 at Camp Navajo Military Reservation, Arizona...

Capt. Melissa Stenquist
The Utah National Guard Celebrates Pride Month in June
By Sgt. 1st Class John Etheridge | June 28, 2021
During the month of June, the Utah National Guard celebrates Pride Month to commemorate LGBTQ+ service members and civilians for their dedicated service to both the Guard’s mission and to our nation. Pride Month brings the...

The Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platoon, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), held a redeployment ceremony at the Aaron Butler Readiness Center, Camp Williams, Utah, June 23, 2021. The TUAS Platoon deployed from July 2020 to January 2021 in support of Special Operations Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve. Soldiers received Army Commendation Medals for their service during the deployment. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. Brent Mangum, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne))
19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) holds Redeployment Ceremony Tactical Unmanned Aerial System Platoon
By Maj. Brent Mangum | June 24, 2021
A redeployment ceremony was held for the Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (TUAS) Platoon, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), at the Aaron Butler Readiness Center, Camp Williams, Utah, June 24, 2021...

Retirement Ceremony for Sgt. Maj. Jason R. Legler 
A retirement ceremony was held for Sgt. Maj. Jason R. Legler at the Aaron Butler Readiness Center, Camp Williams, Utah, June 23, 2021. Legler last served as command sergeant majorof the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Friends present Legler with two large picture frames representing his units, service, and memories. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. Brent Mangum, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne))
19th SFG(A) Command Sergeant Major retires, credits family, friends, leaders for distinguished 33-year career
By Maj. Brent Mangum | June 24, 2021
A retirement ceremony was held for Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Legler at the Aaron Butler Readiness Center, Camp Williams, Utah, June 24, 2021. Legler most recently served as the command sergeant major of the 19th Special Forces...