An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | May 11, 2022

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 Utah National Guard

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 the 97th Troop Command and Region VIII Homeland Response Force mission, conducted a grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Collapsed Structure Venue Site on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at Army Garrison Camp Williams, Utah.

The ceremony consisted of a CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) Response Enterprise (CRE) capabilities demonstration, a structure walk-through, and an award presentation. Guests from across the CRE were present. Distinguished visitors from National Guard Bureau, Army Interagency Training and Education Center, the Region VIII, IX, and X HRFs, and Utah State delegates and civilians attended the grand opening.

Brig. Gen. Kurt Davis, director of joint staff, Utah National Guard, provided remarks about the significance of the new training venue. “This is going to be a great asset for training our Guardsmen, but beyond that we see this as a great training venue for our local, state and regional urban search and rescue partners as well,” said Davis. “In addition, it will give us the opportunity to train jointly with our civilian partners which will only enhance our training, capability and better prepare us to answer the call when that real catastrophe hits.”

Wiedmeier added, “A large-scale earthquake along the Wasatch front will cause significant damage to our urban infrastructure requiring Utah’s civilian and military search and rescue teams to be trained in life-saving techniques. Around 85 percent of the Utah population lives in a fault zone. The Collapsed Structure Venue Site at Camp Williams will allow the partnerships between the Utah National Guard and our civilian counterparts to expand their readiness. Training together in a controlled environment before an actual catastrophic event will help keep urban search and rescue teams safe while saving Utah lives.”

Urban Search and Rescue is a vital and perishable skill set of the Utah National Guard’s domestic operations. As one of only three military-owned USAR training venues west of the Rocky Mountains, this site will not only allow the Utah National Guard’s search and extraction team the opportunity to train, but all National Guard search and extraction teams and civilian urban search and rescue teams. This $377,000 venue will also allow military and civilian agencies to train together, and build those necessary partnerships needed in an “all-hazards” response.

"As seen with the condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida June 24, 2021, and the candle factory leveled by a tornado in Mayfield, Kentucky Dec. 10, 2021,the speed at which urban search and rescue teams can respond and work together can be a matter of life or death,” said Maj. Kory Lund, the deputy commander of the CBRN TF. “With the size of this venue, multiple National Guard search and extraction teams can train together or train with civilian urban search and rescue teams. This ability to train together will allow teams to share techniques and build the necessary skills and partnerships needed to work together and save lives when the time comes."

The design of the training facility provides a realistic collapse condition with the greatest level of safety protection. The CSVS has several training lanes for teams to practice critical life-saving skills when responding to an emergency disaster.

“The CSVS will enable the Region VIII HRF to be trained, relevant, and ready to respond to natural or man-made disasters in our state, region, and the West, saving lives and mitigating human suffering by providing trained and ready personnel. The training opportunities the CSVS will facilitate in developing and maintaining the effectiveness and efficiencies of the Region VIII HRF," said Col. Tammy Manwaring, previous 97th TC and Region VIII HRF commander.

The project to fund, design and construct the CSVS took approximately four years. "I am overwhelmed with joy that we were able to complete this project. The CSVS has been the most rewarding and challenging project I have ever worked on. It encompasses three years of hard work, dedication, and relentless pursuit to finish the build,” said Master Sgt. Jeffry Yon, HRF logistics non-commissioned officer.

This training site is one of many where the HRF will be able to accomplish its mission and support the Federal Management Agency. 

The National Guard sourced 10 HRFs, one HRF for each of the FEMA Regions in 2010. The HRFs became fully operational in 2012. Utah is the host state of FEMA Region VIII’s HRF. The HRF is a joint mission comprised of approximately 570 Army and Air National Guard personnel. Of the 570 personnel, approximately 45 are full-time. The 97th TC, 19th Group Support Battalion, 65th Fires Artillery Brigade, 151st Mission Support Group, 151st Medical Detachment and the 204th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade all contribute personnel to complete the roster. Also included is a fatality search and recovery team from the New Mexico Air National Guard. The core of each HRF is chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive response capability, but they are also ready and capable of responding to all hazards.

HRFs manage a catastrophic event by providing command and control to multiple Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams and CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Packages. There are 57 WMD-CSTs and 17 CERFPs throughout the country. HRFs also bridge coordination between federal-controlled elements of the CBRNE Response Enterprise, including Defense CBRN Response Force Command and Control Elements and follow-on forces. 

The HRF mission requires the organization to respond within six to 12 hours when directed by proper authority or consent of the governor to conduct command and control; casualty assistance; search, and extraction; decontamination; medical triage and stabilization; and fatality search and recovery to save lives and mitigate human suffering. Additionally, the HRF must be able to transition operations to civil authorities and redeploy. The adjutant general may employ the HRF to support a state CBRNE or all-hazards response under the governor's direction or support another state's response under a supported governor.

Search, and extraction is the most difficult skill set for the HRF and CBRN TF. All members of the S&E must be certified in Level I Rope Rescuer, Level I Confined Space Rescuer, and Level I Structural Collapse Rescuer certified per National Fire Protection Association 1670. Before the CSVS, the search and extraction teams coordinated with Unified Fire Authority and Task Force 1 in Magna to use their facilities for the past ten years to conduct meaningful training.

 "It has cost the Guard both time and money to utilize those facilities. With our Collapsed Structure Venue Site at Camp Williams, we can conduct S&E training whenever we want and still be in close proximity to the rest of the CBRN TF and HRF tactical operations center  locations,” Said Lt. Col. Jeremy Stevenson, Region VIII HRF deputy commander. “The primary function of the S&E Element is to locate and remove casualties from assigned areas of responsibility (all within the hot zone (contaminated area)). Casualties are transported to the casualty collection points to receive basic life support. The medical personnel attached to the S&E element are responsible for conducting the initial triage of casualties rescued by the element.”

The CSVS will provide a unique training site that will increase the readiness for military and civilian search and extraction/rescue teams.

“Our CSVS may become the premier CBRN TF training location in the Western United States where CBRN TFs, CERFPs, DCRFs, and civilian task forces throughout the West can come and train,” said Stevenson.




Your Career Starts Here

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. David Zahm (right) and Master Sgt. Shaundra Andress (left) communicate about an upcoming project for the base comm office. (Air National Guard photo by: Tech Sgt. Nicholas Perez)
16 Key Principles of Effective Communication
By Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Perez | Feb. 23, 2023
Effective communication is crucial to success in any field, but it is imperative in the military. In high-stakes, dynamic environments, clear and accurate communication is essential for ensuring the safety of troops, the...

Utah National Guard’s 300th Military Intelligence Brigade held its 34th annual Military Intelligence Language Conference on Feb. 11, 2023. As part of the conference more than 140 competitors from 25 different organizations participate in the Polyglot Games. The competition is conducted in seven different languages and follow every step of the intelligence cycle, from the operations order to a final commander's brief as they translate battlefield recordings and news reports, exploit documents to identify and destroy enemy equipment, and assess possible enemy courses of action.
Utah National Guard hosts world’s largest Polyglot Games at the MI Language Conference
By Master Sgt. Samantha Xanthos | Feb. 11, 2023
Competitors from multiple organizations came from across the country to participate in this year’s Polyglot games, hosted by the 300th Military Intelligence Brigade. More than 140 participants from 25 different organizations...

The Utah Air National Guard honor their outstanding nominees during the Airmen of the Year banquet at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center on Jan. 7th, 2023. The Airmen of the Year award program is designed to recognize Airmen who display superior leadership, job performance and personal achievement.

(Air National Guard photo by: Tech. Sgt. Danny Whitlock)
Utah Air National Guard Honors the Airmen of the Year 2022
By Tech. Sgt. Danny Whitlock | Jan. 10, 2023
The Utah Air National Guard celebrated its Airmen of the Year during a banquet held in their honor at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center Jan. 7, 2023 in West Valley City, Utah.The Airmen of the Year award program is...

Utah National Guard members repel with the help of their civilian counterparts during a Utah National Guard FEMA Region VIII Homeland Response Force training exercise on Camp Williams, Utah, Nov. 5, 2022. The event featured multiagency interoperability training for the Utah National Guard and civilian partner agencies to provide initial and follow-on care to stranded and injured citizens in the event of a natural or human-caused emergency. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Alejandro Lucero)
Utah National Guard Hosts Multi-Agency Disaster Response Exercise
By Capt. Megan Tidwell | Nov. 5, 2022
The Utah National Guard’s Domestic Operations Office; in conjunction with the state of Utah Emergency Operation Center, Division of Emergency Management, conducted a multi-agency training event at Camp Williams in Bluffdale,...

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presented the Seven Seals and Patriot Awards to select civic leaders at a ceremony on Oct. 26, 2022. Gov. Spencer Cox received both the ESGR’s Seven Seals Award and the Patriot Award. Mr. Gary Harter, executive director for the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs, and Mr. Jon Pierpont, chief of staff to the governor and former executive director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services, also received the ESGR Seven Seals Award.
ESGR Presented Awards to Civic Leaders
By Maj. Chris Kroeber | Oct. 27, 2022
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presented the Seven Seals and Patriot Awards to select civic leaders at a ceremony on Wednesday. Gov. Spencer Cox received both the ESGR’s Seven Seals Award and the Patriot Award. Mr...

Sgt. Maurice Manns II with the 204th Maneuver  Enhancement Brigade, emerges for a breath during the swimming portion of the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge , conducted at Camp Williams, Utah Oct. 16, 2022. This year’s competition offers an opportunity for competitors to earn the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge. The Utah National Guard Best Warrior Competition is an annual event that brings together Soldiers and Airmen from the major commands to compete for the title of Soldier/Airman-of-the-Year, Noncommissioned Officer-of-the-Year and Senior NCO-of-the-Year. The Army winners of this competition will represent the Utah Army National Guard at the Region VII Best Warrior Competition next spring.  (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ariel J. Solomon)
UTNG Best Warrior Competition Presents Top Competitors
By Spc. Shae Cox | Oct. 24, 2022
Twenty-three Soldiers and Airmen battled mental and physical challenges as they competed for the title of Soldier/Airman of the Year, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, and Senior NCO of the Year, during the Utah National...

The Utah National Guard Honor Guard conducts Funeral Honors for the surviving family of U.S. Army Air Corps Sgt. Elvin L. Phillips, an Airman who was killed 79 years ago during World War II. Family from several states, friends, first responders, and service members gathered to render respect during the funeral at Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park in Bluffdale, Utah, Oct. 11, 2022. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Jordan Hack)
Utah Honor Guard Provides Funeral Honors for WWII Airman
By Staff Sgt. Jordan Hack | Oct. 13, 2022
Soldiers and Airmen in the Utah National Guard Honor Guard conducted funeral honors for Phillips at Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park in Bluffdale, Utah, Oct. 11, 2022. Family, friends, other service members, and first...

Gov. Spencer J. Cox and Maj. Gen. Michael J. Turley conduct a pass and review during the 67th annual Governor’s Day at Camp Williams, Utah, Sept. 24, 2022. The humvee is driven by Sgt. Spencer Fayles with the 144th Area Support Medical Company, the 2022 All-Guard National Soldier of the Year. The time-honored tradition of Governor’s Day has been celebrated by the Utah National Guard since 1954 and allows the governor to inspect and speak to his troops. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Ariel J. Solomon)
Utah National Guard celebrates 67th Governor’s Day after two year hiatus
By Capt. Megan Tidwell | Sept. 26, 2022
Utah National Guard Airmen and Soldiers celebrated the 67th annual Governor’s Day after a two-year hiatus Sept. 24, 2022, at Camp Williams, Utah...

Soldiers from the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) arrive at Dugway Proving Ground in support of an agile combat employment joint exercise on Sept. 8, 2022. This joint force exercise incorporates more than six military’s entities across three branches creating innovative operational concepts to allow quick response to an ever-changing wartime horizon. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Danny Whitlock)
Utah Air National Guard Completes Joint Agile Combat Employment Exercise
By Master Sgt. Colton Elliott | Sept. 8, 2022
As the Department of the Air Force continues to prioritize Agile Combat Employment , Airmen from the 151st Air Refueling Wing conducted its first joint Multi-Capable Airmen exercise at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah on Sept. 8,...

Approximately 10 Soldiers from Target Acquisition Platoon, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 65th Field Artillery Brigade, “America’s Thunder,”  are recognized during a departure ceremony Sept. 1, 2022, in the Scott Lundell Readiness Center auditorium at Camp Williams, Utah. The Soldiers will deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom under U.S. Africa Command.
Soldiers from the Utah National Guard’s 65th Field Artillery Brigade deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
By Ileen Kennedy | Sept. 2, 2022
Approximately 10 Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 65th Field Artillery Brigade, “America’s Thunder,” will deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom under U.S. Africa Command. The Target Acquisition...