Army Reserve tests CBRN preparedness

Army Reserve units have joined forces with emergency responders fin five states to participate in the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear consequence drill known as Exercise Red Dragon 2011.

The exercise began in 2000 in an effort to develop, train and assess the capabilities of Army Reserve forces to be used in the Defense Support of Civilian Authorities. Over 2,000 participants were involved in the drill, which is directed by the Army Reserve Command.

“This year’s exercise involves over 2,000 chemical, medical, logistics and signal Soldiers over several states,” Col. Patricia Carlson, commander of the 415th Chemical Brigade, said. “Our support and our soldiers conducting this exercise come from throughout the United States.”

Red Dragon 11 was conducted in Alabama, Illinois, Georgia, South Carolina and Wisconsin. The exercises prepared soldiers to assist local authorities with large scale disaster that they would not be able to handle on their own.  

“The Red Dragon exercise is important because it will give the civilian sector an opportunity to work with Reserve units so we may be able to work together as one unit,” Mary Casey-Lockyer, an emergency preparedness and response coordinator for Northwest Hospital in Arlington Heights, Ill., said.

Soldiers acted as casualties to aid the emergency responders with their preparedness training. Units of the Army Reserve train to maintain a high level of preparedness since they can be called at anytime to serve the nation in a civil or combat capacity.

“This exercise is important because it gives Army Reservist and civilian emergency responders an opportunity to unify and work together in the event of any type of catastrophe,” Lt. Col. Timothy Dawson, the commander of the 472nd Chemical Battalion, said. “Preparedness is not just for us, it is for the communities as well."