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Natural Disaster Response Exercise Vigilant Guard To Begin, Spokesman Says

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2017 — During the joint natural disaster response exercise Vigilant Guard 2017, the Georgia National Guard and guardsmen from five surrounding states will simulate a hurricane to improve collaborative efforts in the region, Pentagon press operations director Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters today.

More than 8,000 personnel from Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina will take part in the exercise from March 27 through April 2 in various locations around Georgia, Davis said.

The joint regional exercise is hosted by the Georgia National Guard and U.S. Northern Command, he said.

Coordination At All Levels

“The purpose is to simulate a real-world natural disaster to improve collaboration efforts that help with emergency preparation, coordination response and recovery management … when we coordinate between federal, regional, local and civilian partners during domestic emergencies and catastrophic events,” Davis explained.

Overall, the exercise scenario will test the state of Georgia’s local and state emergency response to a simulated category-3 or 4 hurricane that makes landfall on the Georgia coast, he said.

Additional scenarios planned for the Vigilant Guard exercise include a disease outbreak, cyber attack, chemical spill, search-and-rescue efforts following a structural collapse and a medical mass casualty, Davis noted.

USS Vinson Joins Foal Eagle

Across the globe, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson departed from Busan, South Korea, after a scheduled stop over the weekend and joined ongoing exercise Foal Eagle 2017, involving U.S. and South Korean troops, the captain said.

The United States and [South Korean] navies began yesterday the combined mine counter measures training exercise as part of Foal Eagle,” Davis said. “This is designed to increase readiness and interoperability and mine counter measure operations, and enhance the theater security cooperation between our two navies.”

During the exercise, U.S. and South Korean sailors and explosive ordnance disposal divers will work together to practice clearing shipping routes, and conduct training surveys, he said.

“Also of note, the U.S. and [South Korean] navies are scheduled to begin additional exercises tomorrow, March 21, to strengthen maritime interoperability and tactics, techniques and procedures,” Davis said.

“These will consist of routine bilateral training, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare drills, communication drills, air defense exercises [and] counter-mine planning,” he added.

“Foal Eagle is a regularly scheduled annual combined field training exercise designed to enhance the U.S. and [South Korean] alliance’s ability to defend [South Korea]” Davis said. “It is defensive in nature. We are there to be ready at all times to defend them.”

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)