Islandwide exercise tests disaster response
CAMP SMEDLEY D. BUTLER, Okinawa - Exercise Constant Vigilance 2013 took place Oct. 21–25 throughout Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler.
The exercise tested emergency response and preparedness procedures across Marine Corps installations on Okinawa, and participants included Marine Corps Installations Pacific security forces, participating U.S. military services, Department of Defense Dependents Schools, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members and other status of forces agreement personnel.
To test and guide these procedures, a scenario was created to assess and validate the capability of MCB Butler to respond to and recover from a tsunami that results in casualties and/or damage to critical assets.
Events such as simulated civil unrest, search and rescue training, safe-haven and evacuation operations, and evacuation of host nation civilians through our facilities are all a part of validating the capability of the installations’ response to and recovery from a tsunami landfall event, according to Timothy Morello, the mission assurance director with G-3/5, operations, training and plans, MCIPAC.
In recognizing that a disaster will impact everyone living on Okinawa, both U.S. Marines and sailors trained alongside members of the JGSDF during mass-feeding and triage events on Camp Foster.
“Everyone needs to know the basics in first-aid and also how to be a first-responder,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Danny F. Brown, a hospital corpsman with 3rd Medical Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF, and leading petty officer in charge of training during the exercise. “With the next disaster potentially near, exercises like this one better prepare both of our militaries to respond in the most efficient way possible.”
The knowledge sharing ensures that both organizations will be ready to respond side by side in a crisis to save lives and provide essential support during recovery operations.
“There is much to learn from each other by sharing and comparing medical capabilities,” said Maj. Hironori Kosaki, commanding officer of the 15th Logistic Medical Support Unit. “Since we have now worked together today, we will be able to better provide care to those who need it in the future.”
Along with testing the preparedness of service members, another goal of CV13 was to familiarize all personnel associated with MCB Butler with evacuation drills and emergency procedures.
“The purpose of the exercise is to integrate our bilateral functions to be able to work with anyone, not just the two militaries,” said James H. Hawley, the deputy director for the exercise. “We all play a vital role in the big picture of being ready for potential disasters.”
CV13 better prepared MCB Butler to work alongside JGSDF members for response and recovery efforts in the event of a catastrophic natural disaster and informed personnel associated with the base about crucial evacuation routes across Okinawa.
“The communication and integration seen throughout the exercise has been nothing less than excellent,” said Hawley. “We were able to coordinate care, exercise our bilateral functions, and were ultimately ready to respond.”