Nebraska Guard takes part in massive disaster drill

National Guard members from Nebraska and three other states will take part in a major training exercise in central Iowa later this month — with a large-scale simulated disaster. Lieutenant Colonel Greg Hapgood says Operation Vigilant Guard 2009 is an emergency response drill that will extend well beyond the Guard.

Hapgood says, “The exercise really is designed to really test our capabilities and to actually stretch them to the point where they break, so we understand the weaknesses that we need to work on and what our strengths are as well,” Hapgood says. He says much of the exercise will happen around Des Moines and will involve Guard members from Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri.

There will be several different venues in the metro area of Des Moines and also in locations in rural Iowa. He says most of the details are being kept quiet to be sure the exercise is realistic.

Large-scale training is a common practice. He says they generally hold such an exercise each year in different states, and this is the first time Iowa has participated. Hapgood says they are also looking for about 150 civilians to take part as actors in the disaster exercise.

Hapgood says the defense contractor I-I-F Data Solutions is taking applications for individuals to play roles as civilian victims. He says victims would be made up to simulate certain injuries and it is basically a part-time job for few days. Those participating would be paid nine-dollars an hour and meals. Contact I-I-F at www.iifdata.com, or call 571-281-1865. The exercise is scheduled for June 17th through the 20th.