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Pennsylvania Guard supports Keystone 6 exercise with partners

By Sgt. Zane Craig August 22, 2017

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. -- More than 50 members of both the Pennsylvania Air and Army National Guard supported an emergency preparedness-training event hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services along with other partners August 14-16.

Keystone 6 exercised and evaluated various processes for developing a common operating picture to support decision making within the Pennsylvania National Guard and for tasking and coordinating Guard resources in support of civil authorities for a mass care and sheltering event such as a natural disaster.

"Successful domestic operations happen with solid communications and networks of people. Having the opportunity to work with the Inter-agency, volunteer organizations, and our defense coordinating element from PEMA ensures success not only in an exercise environment, but in the event of actual emergencies," said Brig. Gen. David Wood, director of the joint staff for the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Keystone 6 also tested ground transportation support to the Department of Human Services for commodities support of mass care and sheltering and assessed the suitability and transportation capacity of the disaster response bed-down system. For this portion of the exercise Task Force Support, members of the 213th Regional Support Group were tasked with loading and transporting pallets of Disaster Relief Bed Down Systems.

In this scenario the Pennsylvania National Guard was able to work closely with their civilian counterparts. This experience that proved rewarding for all parties, which included: Pennsylvania State Police, Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Transportation, Turnpike Commission, Department of Corrections, and the Red Cross.

"By continuing to work processes and procedures we improve our ability to respond to State and Federal requirements," said Wood. "The environment we train in is framed by a standard of continuous improvement that allows for learning to happen."

Founded in 1747, the Pennsylvania National Guard is comprised of nearly 20,000 Soldiers and Airmen with facilities in more than 90 communities across the Commonwealth.

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