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Michigan Airmen Support Disaster Response Exercise

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Some four dozen Michigan Air National Guard Airmen helped prove that the National Guard is ready to roll during any kind of natural disaster during a recent major training exercise in Wisconsin.

The Selfridge-based Airmen from the 127th Civil Engineer Squadron and 127th Communication Flight helped support Patriot Exercise 2015 at Volk Field, Wisc., one of the nation's largest disaster readiness exercises. The exercise brought some 1,500 National Guard troops from 33 states to the air field, who worked in conjunction with sheriff deputies, local firefighters, Red Cross volunteers and others to enhance readiness to respond to a tornado, hurricane or other disaster.

"Just like professional sports teams who have spring training, we also need to practice," said Lt. Col. David "D.J." Spisso, a Georgia Air National Guard officer who served as the director of Patriot. "The first time you meet civilians in your community should not be when there's an event. You should practice before the event so that you know how the response will work."

Eight Airmen from Selfridge's 127th Communications Squadron worked with four other ANG coms squadrons to establish a communications network at the Wisconsin base that allowed all of the various units there to communicate with each other during the exercise. The Selfridge team helped install dozens of modems, phones and radio relays to facilitate the effort.

More than three dozen Airmen from the 127th CE Squadron provided power and life support to the operation, erecting tents, running power lines and providing on-call construction/repair services to the exercise's personnel.

Air National Guard personnel routinely exercise support to civil authorities in emergency situations as part of the Guard's state militia function. The exercise spanned the last two weeks of July.

About the 127th Wing
Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command and Air Combat Command operations by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marks its 98th year of continuous military air operations in 2015.