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Alabama National Guard Sustainment Unit participates in Vibrant Response 17

By Staff Sgt. Katherine DowdMay 9, 2017

FORT MCCLELLAN, Ala. -- Alabama Army National Guard's 167th Theater Sustainment Command is participating in this year's Vibrant Response 17 from April 22 to May 12, 2017, at Fort McClellan Readiness Center in Anniston, Alabama. Vibrant Response 17 is an annual U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) Response Command Post Exercise. The exercise allows various agencies to practice working together in order to properly respond to a disaster scenario. The exercise scenario this year was a large-scale terrorist attack on a major U.S. city.

The 167th TSC has been a regular player in the Vibrant Response exercises for the past few years. Each year the unit plays a role that is essential to the success of the exercise; they provide theater sustainment. Theater sustainment means providing troops and agencies the supplies they need to get their missions completed in order to save lives and prevent human suffering. Soldiers of the TSC coordinate the movement of troops, equipment, supplies, and other essentials into the area of operations.

"We are making sure things like food, water, showers, and medical equipment get to the lowest levels of troops that need them in order to accomplish their mission," said Lt. Col. Lisa Pierce, future operations officer, 167th TSC. Pierce works in the future operations center helping to interpret operations orders and coordinating proper dissemination of information.

The 167th TSC is comprised of not only Alabama National Guardsmen, but also active duty Army Soldiers. This relationship allows for fluid communication among all players in the exercise.

Maj. Gen. Allen Harrell, commanding general, 167th TSC, said that this relationship is beneficial because the active duty Soldiers bring a lot of the latest and greatest knowledge with them, and the traditional Guardsmen always bring helpful skills from their civilian job experiences.

This year, the Soldiers of the 167th TSC also trained on being completely self-sufficient while coordinating for others. This allows them to ensure that the supplies that are needed in emergency times are utilized in the most efficient way possible, and that the sustainers can sustain themselves without hindering the operation. The TSC has a full kitchen staff and, at times, the culinary specialists worked out of a new Containerized Kitchen (CK) in order to practice their ability to self-sustain.

This year's exercise combined several exercises into one, which allowed more interaction among every level of command, from strategic down to tactical. Harrell feels that this made the exercise even more realistic than it has been in the past. "This is the best exercise we've done in my time in command here, which has been about 30 months," he said.

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